Campus News

Unprecedented Year, Unprecedented Accomplishments for UK Athletics, Our Community

This is a photo of the UK Volleyball team upon winning the NCAA Championship.
This is a photo of the UK Rifle team, upon winning the NCAA Championship, Photo by UK Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 25, 2021) – We all know it and have lived it – a year unlike any other with challenges and trials for our world and our campus.

But there have been incredible moments unlike any other, too.

On Saturday night, the UK Volleyball team gave us one such moment – a thrilling national championship in Omaha, Nebraska. It was UK’s first national championship in volleyball as well as the first for the Southeastern Conference, the country’s pre-eminent athletics conference. You can read more about UK’s march to the championship here:

It was also the first time that UK’s storied athletics program has won two national championships in a single year.

Only last month, the UK Rifle team won the national championship – its third under Head Coach Harry Mullins.

Both teams went through tough – and there’s that word, again, unprecedented – seasons in almost flawless fashion, beating everyone in their paths and romping through national tournaments, besting the best teams in convincing and stirring fashion. You can read more about the Rifle Team’s run here:

The Rifle Team was led  by UK sophomore Mary Tucker, who was named the outstanding performer at the NCAA Championships and who has also recently won championships on the international level, too.

“In a year that has challenged everyone, these two teams – Volleyball and Rifle – reminded us of a lot that is good and still true: the importance of hard work and sacrifice, the value of putting the community first and the proof that shared commitments can lead to remarkable accomplishments,” said Mitch Barnhart, director of UK Athletics. “These two teams are comprised of incredible young people with inspirational coaches who put our student athletes first. They are outstanding representatives of our University and our Commonwealth.”

Two teams, in historic fashion, met the moment and overcame every challenge they faced, symbolizing what can be done when people come together in common purpose to achieve uncommonly big things.



As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.