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.