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Stadium Ranked Mitch Barnhart as one of the SEC’s Worst Athletic Directors

What in the hell are Jeff Goodman and Brett McMurphy thinking?

The cash cows from the upstart Stadium network used the absence of sports to rank every athletic director in the Southeastern Conference. Goodman and McMurphy kept the criteria simple, primarily basing the grades on postseason success and the win-loss record of each coach the AD hired.

Mitch Barnhart has been at the University of Kentucky for 18 years, eight years longer than any of his peers. Longevity is typically a good baseline for success in collegiate athletics, yet that was completely ignored. Stadium gave Mitch Barnhart a C+ grade. Only two other ADs who have hired football and men’s basketball coaches were graded lower.

“Mitch Barnhart came to Kentucky in 2002 after four years as the athletic director at Oregon State — and he’ll forever be known as the one who brought John Calipari to Lexington. However, as great of a hire as Cal has been, Barnhart’s other basketball hires have been underwhelming. It started with Ritchie McKay (22-37) and Jay John (72-97) at Oregon State, but the worst one was Billy Gillispie, who was a terrible fit and lasted just two years at UK. On the football side, Barnhart has done fairly well. Dennis Erickson went to three bowl games in four years at Oregon State, while Mark Stoops has found his footing at UK.”

Yes, Jeff Goodman gave Arkansas’ athletic director a B+ for hiring Eric Musselman and Barnhart a C+ for hiring John Calipari.

In the last decade Barnhart brought to Lexington football and basketball coaches that will finish their careers ranked at least second in all-time wins at UK, behind only Adolph Rupp and Bear Bryant. He’s also completely transformed Kentucky’s south campus by adding incredible athletic facilities as every single sport has grown to compete for national championships.

You may not agree with Barnhart’s stance on alcohol at stadiums. You may not like the way he buttons the top button of his golf shirts. You cannot deny that he is not only one of the best athletic directors in the SEC, but in the entire country.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

25 Comments for Stadium Ranked Mitch Barnhart as one of the SEC’s Worst Athletic Directors

  1. BBN4LIFE03
    1:06 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    We already know Jeff Goodman doesn’t like Kentucky so this isn’t surprising.

  2. Headhurts
    1:28 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    I just did a sportswriter survey and found that no one knew who Jeff Goodman was.

    • InigoMontoya
      1:30 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

      He was the TV husband of Rosanne, right?

    • Davey McCrockett
      2:57 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

      No, he’s the chocolate candy bar with peanuts in the yellow wrapper

    • 2andToodleLoo
      3:12 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

      Well played Headhurts.

  3. claiborne_field
    1:29 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    This is an utterly asinine article. I can’t believe people are actually paid for such uninformed garbage… and that some actually read it.

  4. lexattorney
    1:39 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    And yet here you are, YET AGAIN giving these imbeciles clicks, Nick. If people like those of you at KSR would ignore these inane articles 99% of the BBN would never even see them. Instead, you give these “journalists” access to the biggest fan base in the history of sports, thereby achieving their goals for them. IGNORE IT AND IT WILL GO AWAY WHEN THE BILL PAYER REALIZES THEY AREN’T BRINING IN REVENUE.

  5. BigTimeOwen
    1:44 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    This is hilariously misguided at best. He certainly made a misstep with Gillispie but fixed it pretty quickly. Joker wasn’t a misstep in theory but also fixed that relatively quickly when things went way south. Judging what he did at Oregon State at this point seems absolutely ridiculous when you consider UK’s Athletic Department is one of the more successful (in performance and in money) departments in the whole country.

    On a slightly tangential note, people bitch about money going towards athletics, etc. but fail to consider how many kids get college degrees through athletics scholarships that otherwise wouldn’t. UK is incredibly successful at doing that under Mitch Barnhart. I do disagree with him about alcohol and probably a slew of other things but it’s ridiculous to suggest he isn’t one of the best ADs in the country let alone the conference.

  6. T-Town Cat
    2:00 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    I think one could safely say every sport at UK is in better shape now – coaching and facilities – than when Mitch was hired.

    • mashburnfan1
      3:29 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

      I agree, all our sports programs are becoming elite. Volleyball, Baseball will be back, softball, women’s basketball, gymnastics, rifle, track and many more are at or near the top. Even tennis, soccer and others had moments. Plus he is a great guy, took time at Belk Bowl to take a picture with my son and talked with us for a bit.

    • 4everUKBlue
      5:47 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

      Oh wait mashbum you forgot the men’s basketball team. I do love how you always cut the football team and coaches slack no matter how they lose, even to the point of making excuses. Of course making excuse is your main talent….next to being a world class liar.

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      9:30 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

      Mashbum’s mom accidentally went out of character there for a second while typing for him. Said me and my son. Of course that would also imply she let him out of the cage long enough to go to a game in the first place.

  7. UKInsider
    2:09 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    I’m not a fan of Barnfart, but he is not as bad as the article states. A few quick facts:
    1. He hired John Cohen – positive.
    2. He couldn’t keep Cohen because Cohen went to MSU, but he replaced him with Henderson, who couldn’t coach – negative.
    3. He built a new baseball stadium, but it took entirely too long – neutral.
    4. He hires Gillespie – negative.
    5. He hired Cal – positive.
    6. He had run-ins and was meddlesome early in Cal’s UK stint and had to ask Pevey to serve as the buffer – negative.
    7. He messed up the search to replace Morriss – negative
    8. He did secure Brooks – positive
    9. He rand Brooks out of town 1-2 years early – negative
    10. He hired Phillips – negative
    11. He hired Stoops – positive
    12. He secured stadium financing for FB – positive
    13. He has retained the FB staff with escalating salaries – positive
    14. He hired DeMoss and then Mitchell – positive
    15. Other no-revenue sports have improved – positive

    So, even as someone that does not like Barnfart, the above items are at least a B/B+.

    • UKInsider
      2:10 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

      16. He hired Mingione which will work out – positive.

  8. VirginiaCat
    2:10 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    I am in the minority on this one. Barnhart’s hiring of Billy Gillispie reflected a total lack of due diligence and was one of the worse hiring decisions ever. Inexcusable. It’s not like Gillispie’s shortcomings weren’t known within the college basketball world. I know, Barnhart hired Cal, but Cal virtually beat down the door to come to Kentucky. What worries me is that Barnhart will lead the search for a new coach when Cal leaves. I have no confidence in his ability to find the right fit.

    • ClutchCargo
      2:18 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

      ^ I agree with every word of that.

  9. jccuk
    2:37 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    Funny that the Sports Business Journal names Mitch the AD of the Year for 2019. I think they know more than these jokers!

  10. BobbyBlue
    3:06 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    I despise Jeff Goodman almost as much as I do Jerry Tipturd and it is beyond my comprehension when either of those two Ky haters are given print time on her where they can access the biggest fan base in America.
    As for Barnhart I agree with Va Cat.

  11. middlesborocat
    3:30 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    Get rid of the checkerboard and I’ll give him an A+

  12. ukkatzfan
    3:59 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    A checkered past and present has ruined many a reputations.

  13. jaws2
    4:04 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    Click Bait, as usual from Goodman. Don’t give this guy anything!

  14. peaches76
    5:35 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    Not sure how much Barnhart had to do with hiring Cal. Lots of pressure from the money men to hire him after Mitch whiffed on the previous hire. Don’t really think he deserves the credit for that one.

  15. dcforuk
    9:30 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    News is what the news media says it is. Truth may or may not be what they (or anyone else for that matter) says it is!

  16. east-ky-boy
    11:41 pm June 24, 2020 Permalink

    Billy G was a bust. I’ll admit that. But on paper, he was a hit hire. Mitch redeemed himself by hiring cal. Brooks was an excellent hire at the time. What we needed at the moment. Joker….. I really thought it would work…. again, he fixed it. Overall, our program is doing well. Even the non-football and basketball sports. Plus, he’s a man of integrity. I like Mitch. Perfect? No. Who is?