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By LARRY VAUGHT

For the first time since he fired football coach Joker Phillips with two years left on his contract, Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart answered questions about what lies ahead for Kentucky football after UK lost 37-17 to Tennessee here Saturday.

“The goal is to continue to build on the foundation that Joker’s put in place … the young talent that we’ve got, the respect and the accountability that he’s gained in the locker room for the way we conduct our business,” said

Barnhart during a four-minute session with media members. “Those are the things that we want to build upon and we’ve been working at it, and we will work our way through that process … we’ll let you know when we get done.

“It is a good job. People are excited about the opportunity to coach in our league and to coach at the University of Kentucky, and we’ll continue to work at that. That’s sort of where we are. That’s about the update we have.”

Barnhart said no one has been offered the job and that he has no timetable for naming a replacement. He also would not reveal if he had anyone helping him with the search process.

“We don’t have a timetable. Like I said, we’ll respect the process and we’ll continue to work our way through it.  And we’ve been working at it since we made the change a couple weeks ago,” Barnhart said. “The players have been great through the whole process. The coaching staff’s been wonderful through the process.  Joker is class as class can be. He has been an amazing, amazing guy which hasn’t changed at all.

“He’s just exactly what he’d expect … he expects our players to conduct themselves in a certain way and he’s been an absolute example of how to do that. I respect him very, very much and on a day where we close our season down, that’s about where I’ll leave it with you today.

“No one’s been offered the job. People have been responsive … people have been responsive to talking about the job. It was much different the last time. We were on probation looking at 19 scholarships down. There wasn’t a lot of folks that were really thinking it was a really great opportunity.”

That’s when Barnhart initially consulted with former Oregon and NFL coach Rich Brooks and ended up hiring Brooks after several other candidates turned down the job. This time there has been speculation that Cincinnati coach Butch Jones has been offered the job and that Barnhart has also inquired about several NFL coaches.
“Coach Brooks came in here and took it by the horns and fought through some really, really difficult times. The opportunity we have ahead of us, as you’ve seen today, we put over 400 yards of offense on the board, we’ve got some young guys still trying to figure out what to do and how to get it in the end zone and finish those pieces, and that will come,” Barnhart said. “The person that walks in will have an opportunity to inherit some of that young talent.

“There’s obviously some things we’ve got to get better, and we all know that. And that’s why we’re in this position. We do have some young players in this locker room that do care about this program and that have the chance to move it forward. We’ll just continue to work through it.  We’re working our way through the process. At the end of the day, we’ll work our way through all that.”

Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson and quarterback Patrick Towles both said players have not been given any insights on who the next coach might me.

“We are just waiting and wondering like everybody else,” Towles said.

Barnhart would not offer any specifics about what qualities he might want in a new coach.

“Not going to get into specifics really. I want a person that … like we’ve talked about. You’ll know it when you see it, you’ll know it when you feel it. We talk about fit, and we’ll work our way through that,” Barnhart said. “There’s no blueprint for these things. I’ve seen it a lot of different ways, a lot of different places that have had a lot more tradition, a lot less tradition. Mid majors, big-time places, there’s no blueprint for these things. So we’re looking for the right fit and we’ll continue to work our way through that.”

The athletics director said he understands that “misinformation flies around” and will continue to circulate until a new coach is named.

“I won’t respond to that noise and we’ll just keep working our way as we always have here for the last 10 or so years. I appreciate the way y’all (in the media) have respected our team and our coaches. We’ll hopefully get to you sooner than later, so thanks for your time,” Barnhart said.

* * *

Ashley Scoby contributed to this article — and saved me a ton of time by transcribing tape.

56 Responses to Barnhart has no timetable for hire, has not offered job to anyone and will not reveal qualities he wants in next coach

  • TheProfessor says:

    I see the questions, but I fail to see answers, just more dodge ball, and avoidance of any substance

  • grant says:

    well i assume as expected petrino is out. could be anyone i guess.

  • pacman says:

    If your target is nothing you are more likely to hit it.

  • grant says:

    wow , pacman! i like that one.

  • Gary Dearborn says:

    Maybe i am comparing apples to oranges but how quickly was Coach Cal named as a replacement to Billy G?? What is being done about recruiting??

  • NostraDanis says:

    I wonder if Mitch “knew it when he saw it” and “felt it” when he hired Billy G.

  • UK 24 7 says:

    SOS Mitch…..SOS. Hang in there though. You’ll find another old unemployed coach (Fat Phil) who nobody wants. You can then bring in some D2 teams for us to play so we can go to a bowl. NEWS FLASH MITCH! It won’t work this time!

  • JD says:

    Looks like Mitch is heading down the “no head coaching experience” road…

    I can’t get it to link from my phone hut CBS Sports reporting FSU DC Mark Stoops has been interviewed by UK.

  • Mitch Rapp says:

    Arrogance, narcissism, & denial.

  • john l says:

    This entire scensrio is showing a complete lack of leadership by the UK administration.Makes one wonder if Eli is even interested in UK football or athletics.
    A good compaeison was from an article earlier about the situation at Auburn whereAuburns President was considering replacing both their football coach and ad after the Bama game today.

  • skeptical of Mitch says:

    Is it just me or is the criteria that Mitch is using to pick the next coach the symptoms of love at first site in crappy movies? Mitch doesn’t want a football coach he wants his soul mate.

  • Anonymous says:

    UK football has officially ended its season and is now rudderless. Thanks a lot, Mitch! You sir, are on the clock. You may not have a timetable for the hire, but the young men on the team and the future recruits would probably like to know who the next coach is.

    My guess, since there is no announcement, is that is either an assistant who is going bowling or a HC from a small league that is going to post season.

  • Mick says:

    Just what foundation has Joker built? Empty seats? Disillusioned fans. MB seems to be more focused on defending his poor decisions than finding a top notch coach. He is lost.

    • grant says:

      yeah foundation, thats a good one. if the foundation was that good he’d still be here. brooks built a foundation and phillips used a wrecking ball and smashed it.

  • David says:

    “If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson

  • David C says:

    Mark Stoops is reported to have interviews. No head coaching experience and has coached at a bunch of schools doesn’t stay long at places.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Stoops

  • David C says:

    The longer the search goes on my faith in Mitch diminishes. He obviously cannot find a “big name” or he would have signed him by now. The longer it goes the smaller the name. Just bring someone that can bring fun (offense) and that will be starting point.

  • Ira says:

    If there was any faith in the AD at all, it has pretty much eroded after this interview.
    So now, Arkansas is looking for a coach, Auburn is, UT, and of course UK. That is four SEC teams. Cal’s HC just got fired, UTEP, Idaho, could have sworn I saw Illinois or it could have been Indiania’s was not going to be kept either. So the longer he diddles, the more openings UK has competition against.

    I hate to say it, I am beginning to wonder does he do these things to harm UK football? I can be the biggest cynic, the biggest pessimist, but it does make you wonder. Does our AD really have something against UK football? At times like these I wonder.

  • Cam Jacobs says:

    Fire Mitch. Hire Joker as AD.

  • Mr. Morals says:

    Amen Cam Jacobs, I have said the same thing. Joker would surely be a better AD than Mitch, at least Joker is a KY boy. Mitch is from Kansas for God’s sake and has proven that he is a know it all prick, who could care less what the fans want.

  • Juan4UK says:

    FYI, all of u stressing about time tables….. you might as well reset ur starting clocks for now as the starting point. Our season is over and Mitch can now begging actual talks with various candidates. Serious inquiries to a whittle down list. Don’t expect mitch (or any AD) to give fans a play by play. You’ll go insane

  • BobbyBlue says:

    Its real simple..on top of Ky being the grave yard for Football coaches,absolutely nobody wants to work for Barnyard..I’m told by people in the know,that “The Mitch” is universally despised by everybody in the athletics dept. at UK ! He should have been let go with Joker !

  • grant says:

    well they could have had petrino. a very good football coach who has screwed his life up and is now looking for another chance. all signs would point to in this case as the administration holding the cards and having the upper hand on petrino because of his compromised position. petrino would be operating with some weakness on the arrogance front, way different than normal . he knows he cannot do what he has done in the past because his window might be closing , in terms of acting a fool and getting a job. really this is difficult for me to believe, uk has or had a shot at legit coach who can put a winner on the field, but mitch is probably looking for a coach whom he can go to church with instead of win with. go ahead mitch “respect the process” don’t worry about respecting the fans though.

  • CJW says:

    Joker has given so much of his adult life to UK Football. He excelled as a player, as a position coach, as a recruiter, as an offensive coordinator, but unfortunately Head Coach wasn’t in the cards for him just yet. I’ve been a season ticket holder for over 15 years. Even though I agree that Joker isn’t the man for the job right now and needs replaced, I feel he deserves a lot more respect than shown from this fan base. I made a point to attend the Samford game so we could give Coach Phillips a huge Thank You. I really thought that the fans would at least have the heart to show up and applaud a homegrown legend that has devoted two decades of his life to UK Football. Instead, I found a bunch of empty seats vacated by a thousands of whining, cry-baby, basketball spoiled fans.

    Gentlemen, if you want to help Mitch find us a strong well-seasoned coach, show some pride, respect and character. Do you really expect any top-notch coach to look at THIS FAN BASE and be doing back-flips and screaming “sign me up”?

  • CJW says:

    You want a good coach, learn to be a good fan. You want a GREAT coach, give it your all and be a GREAT fan. Mitch has done a great job as AD at UK. Try making his job easier. Quit the cry-baby sniveling and do your part.

  • Jerry S says:

    The new coach has already been hired and we will know this week.

    • larryvaught says:

      Jerry S., hope you are right. But if that is true, then Mitch certainly did not tell the truth about not having offered the job to anyone

  • We've Been Meetched!! says:

    Dear UK Wildcat fans, please stop with your foolish attempts to guide me in the right direction of the football program. I’m smarter than you, and I’m morally superior to you. Happy Holidays, Meetch

  • shinny says:

    OK MITCH YOU WILL OF COURSE DO IT YOUR WAY AND YOU DON”T NEED TO WARM UP TO THE BBN IN THE PROCESS. BUT-BUT-BUT- DON’T EXPECT THE BIG BLUE NATION TO WARM UP TO YOU THE NEXT TIME YOU’RE IN RUPP ARENA. GET THE DAMN JOB DONE AND WE MIGHT-MIGHT-MIGHT START BUYING FOOTBALL TICKETS AGAIN!!!!!!!! (it seems like ages ago when the BBN swarmed Nashville to root for our beloved cats) I’M BEGINNING TO THINK MITCH “YOU JUST DON’T GET IT”!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jerry S says:

    My source got this straight from UK’s Spokesperson after the UT game.

    • larryvaught says:

      Wow. That will be big news if your source is right Jerry. Keep us posted here. Any guesses on who it is from your source?

  • David says:

    This just in Mitch Barnhart has made an offer to the next head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats Loren Montgomery.
    Good news is their season is over and his buy out for his contract is very little. His was a great head coach over at Bixby High and Mitch feels very fortunate to have found him.

  • David says:

    Mitch has struck gold with the hiring of his new head coach Loren Montgomery and his 9th Grade Offensive Coordinator Andrew Rice. Both coming from Bixby High School.

    Welcome coaches to the BBN

  • Jerry S says:

    When I asked my source what name he heard earlier this week he said San Jose State’s coach, he didnt even know his name. Expect Mark MacIntyre to be announced as the new head football coach tomorrow at noon.

  • Jerry S says:

    Took over a 2-10 team. Went 1-11 the next year (changed the offense, had zero time for recruiting, and got away from JUCO guys), followed that up with a 5-7 year, and just beat Sonny Dyke’s LA Tech last night to finish the season 10-2. He has SEC experience and puts up some serious points while having won an award for being the best defensive coordinator a few years back at Duke. In my opinion he’s not a sexy hire, but a damn smart one. With him at the reigns I expect a 7-5 team next year…

    • Just read that on my Google Search…” Not Sexy, but Smart ” and IMO, lot better than any other Names, (excluding Petrino) that I’ve been reading lately…Nice heads up, JS, Thank you…

  • David says:

    His overall record is 16 Wins 21 Losses. Is this the coach that is going to excite the fan base?

    Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity trust upon them.

  • David says:

    If any of you have a desire to be mediocre, you will probably find that you have already achieved your ambition

  • Jerry S says:

    Yes David he is 16-21 in 3 years…re-read my post two posts above you and this will answer any of your concerns.

  • shinny says:

    Read about MacIntyre played at Georgia Tech. His defensive line coach is Jeff Jeffcoat of Dallas Cowboy fame and MacIntyre coached there under Purcells. His recruiter came with him from Duke and played for Ole Miss which could mean southern connections. I like what I read.

    • You like what you read…..You have Coach Petrino out there and you like what you read on an unknown, start-up….For sure over Fulmer or Stoops…but not Gruden or Petrino….

  • David says:

    it just amazes me how everyone is willing to gamble on a guy that is not proven, 3 years as a head coach.
    Mitch had to come up with a big name for me to back the program anymore. I will not donate as long as we keep going down this road. We needed a name like Dungy. Parcells, Cowher or Petrino.

  • David says:

    Problem here I feel are all the self righteous folks. I do not know Petrino might be the biggest prick that walked the face of the earth but he never had a problem with the NCAA and his win loss percentage is second to none. 75 wins 26 losses
    .786 – Bobby Petrino’s winning percentage. That’s better than Spurrier, Saban and Miles.

    I am just totally in awe of the people who are content in 6-6 records here, but now that the conference has expanded I do not see that happening anymore can only play so many division II teams now

  • David says:

    Mediocrity comforts the masses

  • Jerry S says:

    David you have to be smoking some serious drugs if you think anyone you named wants to coach at Kentucky.

  • Jerry S says:

    Mike MacIntyre will be annouced tomorrow as the new UK football coach!! MARK IT DOWN!

  • David says:

    Well I hope your happy with your new coach Jerry. MacIntyre 3 years as a head coach, sounds about right for Mitch and his cronies. Petrino passed up by the self righteous Kentucky elites.
    When your use to setting your bar low, well then you probably going to be alright being so so.
    There is nothing in the world that I loathe more than group activity, that communal bath where the hairy and slippery mix in a multiplication of mediocrity.

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