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.



The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.