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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Mitch Barnhart’s Report Card

Mitch Barnhart has completed 8 full athletic seasons and has now started his 9th.  And I was surprised at how many people were ready to kick him out if the Kansas job was offered to him.  The basketball program has had some ups and downs in his 8 years, including 2 coaching switches, but the program is still a national power.  The football program has certainly improved in his time.   

It made me think: What makes a good athletic director?  And to me, it revolves around 2 things: making money for the university and progressing the status of each of the school’s sports.  So, what I have done is give Mitch a kind of report card.  I went through the sports at UK and charted the 8 years before Barnhart came to Kentucky and the 8 years since he has been AD.  You tell me what kind of success in the athletic department he has been.

BASEBALL
8 Years Before Barnhart: (222-243-2 Overall, 85-151-1 SEC)
-0 SEC Championships
-0 NCAA Tournament Berths

8 Years Since Barnhart: (258-195-1 Overall, 97-140-1 SEC)
-1 SEC Championship
-2 NCAA Tournament Berths
_____________________________________

SOFTBALL (1st season of program was 1997)
6 Years Before Barnhart: (140-226 Overall, 43-96 SEC)
-0 SEC Championships
-0 NCAA Tournament Berths

8 Years Since Barnhart: (185-266-1 Overall, 50-178 SEC)
-0 SEC Championships
-2 NCAA Tournament Berths
______________________________________

FOOTBALL (2010 is 9th season under Barnhart)
9 Years Before Barnhart: (37-66 Overall, 20-52 SEC)
-3 Bowl Bids
-0 Bowl Wins

9 Years Since Barnhart: (51-57 Overall, 21-50 SEC)
-4 Bowls Bids (5th coming this year)
-3 Bowl Wins
______________________________________

VOLLEYBALL (2010 is 9th season under Barnhart)
9 years Before Barnhart: (129-145 Overall, 61-57 SEC)
-0 SEC Championships
-1 NCAA Tournament Berth

9 Years Since Barnhart: (168-106 Overall, 93-69 SEC)
-0 SEC Championships
-5 NCAA Tournament Berths
_______________________________________

MEN’S BASKETBALL
8 Years Before Barnhart: (229-55 Overall, 102-26 SEC)
-6 SEC Championships
-8 NCAA Tournament Berths (2 National Titles)

8 Years Since Barnhart: (206-70 Overall, 95-33 SEC)
-4 SEC Championships
-7 NCAA Tournament Berths
_______________________________________

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
8 Years Before Barnhart: (121-144 Overall, 33-82 SEC)
-0 SEC Championships
-1 NCAA Tournament Berth

8 Years Since Barnhart: (143-112 Overall, 50-64 SEC)
-0 SEC Championships
-2 NCAA Tournament Berths
________________________________________

In the 6 biggest sports at Kentucky, in the 8 years before Mitch Barnhart arrived, there had been a total of 13 postseason berths, and 8 of those belonged to men’s basketball.  Two of the sports, baseball and softball, did not make a single NCAA Tournament in those 8 years.

In the 8 years since he has been at Kentucky, there have been a total of 22 postseason berths, with all 6 teams getting multiple NCAA Tournament or bowl bids during that time.  5 of the 6 teams have had a better winning percentage in Barnhart’s 8 years than the previous 8 years, but that one exception is men’s basketball.  And that is where the situation gets sticky for Barnhart.  Despite improving nearly every sport, men’s basketball is king at UK and that is the 1 sport that has slipped.  Hopefully, Cal is turning around that history.

Now, let’s look at the money.  In the 2001-02 athletic year, the year before Barnhart arrived, Kentucky made $43.45 million dollars in athletic revenue. 

In the 2008-09 athletic year, Kentucky made $70.45 million dollarsin revenue.  Barnhart has raised revenue IN EACH OF HIS 8 SEASONS as athletic director.  

Fans can be unhappy about Barnhart’s performance as athletic director, which essentially revolves around unhappiness with the basketball program, but for what his job responsibilities actually are, Barnhart has been a successful athletic director.  He is bringing large amounts of money into the university.  He has improved nearly every sport at the school.  And he has done it all while bringing a football program back from probation and having many of his smaller sports as the worst in the SEC when he arrived, and no longer there. 

Considering where Cal is bringing the basketball program, whether or not Barnhart had a hand in that hire, this is his athletic program, and it has moved forward during his tenure.  So consider me a guy who wants Mitch to stay.

Article written by Bryan the Intern