By LARRY VAUGHT
For almost 45 minutes Wednesday, Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell constantly blamed himself and no one else for turmoil in the women’s basketball program.
He’s been going through assistant coaches regularly the last three years and will have a completely new staff next year.
So is he hard to work for?
“I don’t think so. It has all come to a head now with the turnover. It goes back three years and one move kind of impacts the next. That is long and drawn out to kind of go step-by-step. I have had tremendous relationships with coaches that have come through here. So as far as me being hard to work with, I will definitely take a look at that and have examined myself,” Mitchell said.
“Trust me, there have been many nights that I have laid there awake thinking about all the success that has happened on the court and all the success that has happened in the classroom and all the success that we have had in the community and the fans that come through that door. There are times where you say, ‘What have I done wrong here?’ and I want to get that right because I want this to be a place where everybody feels like they are benefiting and moving forward and that Kentucky is a place they want to invest in and be here and help Kentucky succeed. That is what I want.
“And I want them to feel that from me too, that I want them to succeed and help everybody reach whatever their dreams and goals are because everybody has them.”
So what about the players? Do they tell him he is hard to play for?
“The people that are here, I am getting positive feedback from. I am getting constructive criticism from. I have been so appreciate that the players remaining have been candid with me and shared with me how I can improve. The players who have departed have given me feedback on how I can improve,” Mitchell said.
“We have had so many players come through here and who have graduated and are out being successful now and we have had a great amount of success. I feel like a lot of people have walked out the door thinking that I am not hard to deal with I’m sure there are some that do feel like I was hard to deal with. When you’re leading an organization that has so many different people in it, it is up to you to make sure you are doing your dead-level best to be the best communicator you can be. And communication is changing all the time.
“If I feel like because I have had great success here on the court and we have graduated players and they are being productive and we have won a lot of games, if I think that is going to help me be a great communicator and they are just going to walk in the door and think, ‘hey, I am going to come communicate with you.’ You have to go meet them where they are and I understand that and I am doing my very best job of working hard to be the very best communicator to give these players what they need and in an environment where they can grow as people and as students and as players.”