Amy Jones-Timoney

Helping Student-Athletes, UK Succeed

Published: May 10, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 10, 2010) - Every summer, University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and his family face the same routine. They sit down and look at the intense fall schedules for all UK's athletics teams to figure out when they can carve out any moment of free time.

 

“We start looking for openings for our family, and we realize there's not any starting around August 30," said Barnhart. "Every weekend is sort of locked up, but that’s OK because we enjoy it, and it’s been the lifestyle for our family for 28 years. I don’t think our student-athletes would have it any other way.”

 

Neither would Barnhart. Even though this year, the success of football and the men’s and women’s basketball teams garnered the most attention, he spent his time attending contests in every one of the 22 intercollegiate sports offered at UK. 

 

“They see me in the corners of the fields and the courts, and I truly enjoy watching them compete,” Barnhart said.

 

In his eight years at UK, Barnhart has worked to make sure all student-athletes have the fiscal support they need, as well.

 

"When we came in, there were probably only three sports that were fully funded in terms of scholarships and staff,” said Barnhart. “So, we went in and changed the face of all those, completing the whole NCAA limit of staffing and scholarships to make sure that all of our teams have a chance to compete, because in this league, it’s unforgiving. You’re not going to have a chance to win any games if you don’t have the full complement of facilities, scholarships and staff."

 

That determination is something UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr. admires.

 

"Someone needs to write a book on Mitch Barnhart’s leadership style, because from the very moment he stepped on campus, the guiding principal of UK Athletics has been ‘clean and competitive,' " said Todd. "We want our students to compete for championships the right way – by following NCAA rules and regulations.  We also want to make sure they have the chance to compete for championships, no matter what sport they play.  Mitch has worked tirelessly to ensure that each and every student-athlete has the resources they need to excel in the classroom and compete for titles."

 

The attention to detail is paying off in terms of the overall success of the department. In the latest standings for the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, which rates the top athletics departments in the country, UK currently ranks 16th.  The final standings will be announced July 1. The highest UK has ever finished was 26th in 1996-97.

 

While the news is good, Barnhart has even higher goals in mind for the department.

 

“To parallel Dr. Todd’s goal of being a Top 20 institution for Kentucky, we want to be a top 15 department by 2015 and have won 15 championships,” said Barnhart. “That includes SEC and national championships in one way shape or form in all of our sports programs and to be a top 15 program in all sports. Our other additional goal is to have a collective 3.0 GPA for all of our student athletes."

 

The success of his department impacts the entire university because of what UK Athletics gives to UK's campus.

 

"Mitch has embraced the university’s academic and research missions because he has made UK Athletics a national leader in supporting academic programs on campus," said Todd. "Not only is UK Athletics self-sufficient from a financial standpoint, it provides $1.7 million each year to UK’s academic scholarship fund.”

 

"We wear the name of the University of Kentucky on our jerseys, so we represent the institution in everything we do," said Barnhart. "There's a responsibility that comes with that."

 

It's a responsibility Barnhart is happy to see the department embrace.

 

"At UK, it’s a very ‘all for one, one for all deal,' " said Barnhart. "We’ve got good camaraderie. We’ve got coaches who all want their individual sports to do well, but collectively, they want Kentucky to be great, and they realize that a rising tide raises all boats.”

 

That family type of atmosphere may be why Barnhart's family is so understanding of the extra demands of his ever-present goal to try to attend all sporting events. They know that the UK Athletics family will forever be an important part of their lives, and the lives of the student-athletes they touch. 

 

*****

 

What does Barnhart have to say about UK basketball, the importance of Kentucky football, as well as the lofty goals he has for UK Athletics? Visit http://www.youtube.com/user/universityofkentucky#grid/user/5DE78A56EBD0EEE1 to watch clips from our conversation with Mitch Barnhart.

 

Follow Mitch Barnhart on Twitter at @UKMitchBarnhart

Mitch_with_Soccer_Player.jpgBowl_Celebrate_FB_08_09_35.jpgBarnhart_FB_08_09_05.jpg
File Downloads
November
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
College of Pharmacy Open House
Iron Pour
UK Women's Choir 20th Anniversary Concert
Adventure Hiking & Rappelling @ Red River Gorge
Pickin' Time Mountain Music and Harvest Day
Purposeful Retirement: Planning Your Next Stage of Life
Diwali Dhoom 2014
Sat
2
UK Percussion Ensemble
Day Hike
Curator Tour: Take My Word For It
Sun
3
Industry Career Week: Resumes and Cover Letters
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Morehead State
Mon
4
Industry Career Week: How to Impress Your Boss in 90 Days
Rock Star Professionalism Series
UK Lab Band
Tue
5
Industry Career Week: Networking and Job Search
Social Enterprise and Innovation / Certified Nonprofit Professional Program Informational Meeting
Dana Harper Gallery Reception
Wed
6
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Zona Sur
LNFS Presents: The Grand Budapest Hotel
UK Jazz Ensemble
Abstract Workshop
Lauren Potter
Thu
7
LNFS Presents: V for Vendetta
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Marvin Heiferman
Men's Soccer vs. Charlotte
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Georgia
Free Friday Evening Swing Dance
Fri
8
Kentucky Football vs. Georgia
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
The Power of Poetry
The Lexington Lowdown and Free Lindy Hop Workshop
Swing Dance Featuring Live music by"The Metrognomes Orchestra"
Sat
9
UK Combos Concert
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Missouri
Sun
10
 
Mon
11
UK Sax Ensembles
Job Club - Interviewing Strategies
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Jose Abisambra Presentation on Current Alzheimer's Research
Women of the World: Judy Smith
Tue
12
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Reservoir Dogs
Refugee Life in America
Leadership Assessment
Wed
13
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Iron Man 3
#TrendingTopics: Vegetarians vs. Meat-Eaters
Campus Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics KY
LNFS Presents: La Demora
Thu
14
LNFS Presents: Pretty in Pink
LNFS Presents: Mean Girls
Fri
15
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
16
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Florida
Greek Cinematography: Critical Approach and Discussion
"Storied Streets" Documentary Showing about Experiences of Homelessness
Sun
17
UK Rep Bands Concert
Stories of Homelessness: Panel Discussion
Mon
18
A Positive Approach to Caregiving Conference
CatWatch Party
Tue
19
LNFS Presents: The Princess and the Frog
Pinterest Party
Caregiver Support Group
OXFAM Social Issues Banquet
Wed
20
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You
LNFS Presents: The Big Lebowski
Bollywood Night
Thu
21
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: Water For Elephants
4th Annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging & Dementia
Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood and Other Dangers
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Fri
22
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
23
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
UK Symphony Band and UK Concert Band
Sun
24
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Mon
25
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Job Club - What is your money habitude?
Tue
26
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Wed
27
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thu
28
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Fri
29
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Arkansas
Sat
30
 
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sun, 11/02/2014

Reset Page