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Notes from Matthew Mitchell’s press conference

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After his appearance on KSR this morning, Matthew Mitchell went in front of the media this afternoon to address the state of the UK Hoops program. Mitchell took questions and spoke for about 45 minutes about the turmoil and turnover that’s surrounded his team in recent days, and, while it feels like there’s still a lot we don’t know about the situation, Mitchell was more forthcoming in his answers than he was on KSR. Here’s a recap.

Mitchell takes the blame for the lack of chemistry on the staff

Mitchell touched on this during his interview this morning, but it seems the problems in the program began when they lost Kyra Elzy and Matt Insell. Before Elzy left for Tennessee in 2012 and Insell for Ole Miss in 2013, Mitchell said the staff was very close; however, once they were gone and Mitchell and his wife started having kids, he admitted he wasn’t able to devote enough time to bond with his new staff.

“One of the feedback I got from the staff [after Elzy and Insell left] was we didn’t spend enough time planning practices and being together there, so I tried to learn from that. Also, Presley was born that year and I was not around as much as I normally would be with a newborn baby. That’s all on me. Something’s rolling along well and you think it’s will just going to keep rolling along well, and that’s a mistake you make.”

Mitchell said he felt as though he spent a lot of time with the new assistants this year, but for whatever reason, the chemistry just wasn’t there.

He didn’t want Williams-Jeter and Whitaker to leave

While Mitchell maintained that the decision not to renew Adeniyi Amadou’s contract was his, he said he did want Tamika Williams-Jeter and Camryn Whitaker to stay on staff.

“We did not have the kind of chemistry we needed to result in us moving forward, so I parted ways with one coach and the other two coaches had decisions to make about whether they wanted to return or not, and I was very much in favor of them returning, I wanted them to return, I tried to explain to them how it would all work together and fit together. Kyra [Elzy] was going to come back and that was the staff I would have loved to go forward with, but, you know, they had to decide what they wanted to do with their life and they decided not to come back to Kentucky. That’s an incredible turnover and tremendous upheaval and somewhere along the way, I didn’t communicate well enough for them to want to stay. That’s 100% on me and my responsibility and I need to learn the lessons from that situation and move forward in a real productive manner.”

Mitch Barnhart expressed his concerns

Considering the turnover, some fans have asked to hear from athletic director Mitch Barnhart on the situation. Mitchell admitted that Barnhart approached him and told him to get the program back in line.

“I’m so appreciative to Mitch Barnhart who has just been so helpful in his feedback with this. He’s been very candid with me about, ‘you need to do a better job in getting people in a stable situation and we cannot have this type of situation happening again.’ It’s been a three-year revolving door of staff, and that just creates tremendous upheaval.”

Mitchell added that he feels a “sense of urgency” from Barnhart on resolving the situation, but he is confident the additions to the coaching staff will make a difference.

“What we do with our staff is going to signal stability,” Mitchell said.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

21 Comments for Notes from Matthew Mitchell’s press conference



  1. Angelo
    4:36 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    Wow… UK pays this dude how much?



  2. theWilkman
    4:37 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    It would have been nice to have some of this candor and admission of responsibility while on the radio this morning, but I’m glad to see he’s shouldering the blame.



    • RBT
      4:44 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

      It is possible that Mitch had a “media intervention” with him after the radio show.



  3. rainman
    4:46 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    Still doesn’t address why the players are leaving in droves!



  4. rainman
    4:47 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    Still doesn’t address why the players are leaving in droves! .



  5. leon singleton
    4:49 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    Recruiting will suffer.



  6. Smyrna_Cat
    4:54 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    The Titanic is sinking and MM is rearranging the deck chairs. He didn’t say much, and there really wasn’t a good explanation of why so many players were leaving other than, “each situation is different.” I didn’t hear anything that suggested the problem (whatever it is) has been addressed adequately.



    • inside info2
      5:06 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

      Maybe becasue each situation is different. What did you want to HEAR?



    • ukprince1
      9:26 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

      Honestly if you look at the 6 players there are only 2 without a reasonable explanation. Harper teamed up with 2 other McD all Americans from her graduating class and they all went to OSU to play together, nothing to do with UK. The graduate senior transferred for her final season because honestly she wasn’t good enough to see significant minutes at UK but could at a smaller school, also makes sense. The Oregon transfer was a risk when they took her and she just didn’t meet behavioral standards. Goodin-Rodgers transferred to WKU wanting more playing time. The freshman Rich who was never cleared to play and Camara are the only ones that don’t have a clear explanation.



  7. Smyrna_Cat
    4:55 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    And I guess I have not listened to MM all that much, but is he really that bad of a speaker, or was he nervous and sidestepping issues????



  8. FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
    5:10 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    Is it time to fire MM?



    • thebiz
      5:19 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

      Barnhart saying “we can’t have this situation again” is boss code for “we agree I’m firing you if/when this happens again.” Hope MM gets it.



  9. pithuahua
    5:19 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    All around the mulberry bush…



  10. Kyblue34
    5:25 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    So he wants us to believe that these players and coaches are all leaving because he spent more time with his kids than them? Wow, even Pitino wouldn’t use that poor of an excuse!



  11. Bluebloodtoo
    5:47 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    It seems pretty obvious that we aren’t going to get “the whole story”, but it also seems that Barnhart is properly involved.

    I’m not one for expecting people to be perfect all the time. I’ll give him a chance based on the information that was made public, but I’m totally with Barnhart in that sentiment of him being teetering on the edge here.

    Get it right MM and make yourself stronger in the process.



  12. bosshogg24
    6:27 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    The UK women will not have a decent team for the next 2 or 3 years. They have lost two recruits one a McDonald’s All-America, players have left in droves plus assistant coaches have left too. Mitchell will not be able to recruit for a long time, I can’t believe Barnhart will put up with this!



  13. Catuary
    6:42 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    I didn’t realize anyone except the girls’ families actually follows women’s basketball.



  14. inside info2
    7:31 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    Nice to see MM actually taking a little blame. As one poster already mentioned, my guess is that Mitch cornered him after the KSR interview and said the presser better go a little differently.



  15. Smyrna_Cat
    7:41 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    Why does KSR delete comments?



  16. MrWildcat61
    9:57 pm April 27, 2016 Permalink

    I wonder if players see 2 sides to Coach Mitchell? During Big Blue Madness they see the coach that does all this crazy stuff for the fans. You have the funny out going guy who is the main entertainment each year at BBM. The coach who is shown cutting up with players to promote their program to the fans. He has a band that plays before football games or special events he might be supporting. Everybody loves Matthew, and who wouldn’t want to play for a coach like that. Then you have the competitor side and he becomes all business and no play during practices and games. He wants to win and see his players succeed on the court. He has expectations for his players/staff and drives them to meet their goals. It might seem like a little bit of Dr Jeckyl & Mr Hyde.