Category Archive: UK Hoops

Hall of Famer Lin Dunn Signs Contract Extension

LEXINGT­­­ON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Lin Dunn has signed a contract extension and will continue her role as assistant coach for the 2017-18 season.

“I am thrilled that Lin is returning for another year,” Mitchell said. “The contributions she has and will continue to make in our program are immense. Like all of us, Lin is focused on helping Kentucky be the premier environment for young women to come develop into the very best students, players and citizens they can be. It is an honor to work by her side every day.”

C.M. Newton Named to Athletic Directors Hall of Fame

LEXINGTON, Ky. – C.M. Newton, former director of athletics at the University of Kentucky, has been named to the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame, the organization has announced.

Newton will be honored June 14 during a luncheon at the annual NACDA Convention in Orlando, Fla.

Newton served as athletics director at UK from 1989-2000.  His term as AD was marked by the addition of three sports – men’s and women’s soccer and softball – expansion of facilities and growth in revenues in response to the increasing financial pressures of college athletics. 

UK fortunate to have Barnhart to make sure all moving pieces work together at UK

Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart walk off after the win over Mississippi State. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

Vaught’s note: This is the final part of a three-part series on the impact athletics director Mitch Barnhart has had at Kentucky.

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

Leadership is a funny thing. Most people believe that the best leader has the most followers. That isn’t necessarily true. The best leader is the one that can teach other people how to lead in the same way so that his influence is multiplied exponentially. 
This quote from Tom Peters, well known business author, explains the concept a little better. He said “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”
That is exactly what Mitch Barnhart is doing within the ranks of the University of Kentucky Athletics Department and across the entire athletic community within the U.S.
As some of you know Mitch is and has been heavily involved in various NCAA Committees during his time at UK. He has participated as a member on the NCAA Division I Management Council, Chair of the NCAA Basketball Competition Oversight Committee, the 10-member NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee and many others. He was also named Athletic Director of the year in 2015 by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). 
Those national level leadership activities within the NCAA have helped raise the awareness of UK Athletics on a national level but have also allowed Mitch to help shape the landscape of college athletics as we move forward into areas of uncharted waters. 
Those opportunities at UK and the NCAA have also prepared him to create more leaders. Analysts and sports media experts tend to look at coaches and talk about their “coaching tree”. Part of the measure of a successful coach is the legacy they leave behind through other coaches they have developed. It is the same with athletic directors. During Mitch’s tenure at UK he has created many leaders. Current athletic directors Scott Strickland at Florida, Greg Byrne at Alabama, Rob Mullens at Oregon and Mark Coyle at Minnesota all came from the Mitch Barnhart athletic director’s tree.
Mitch is also creating and supporting leaders at the University of Kentucky. Sandy Bell, Executive Associate AD, said  “The thing that immediately struck me about Mitch – and maybe a lot of people in public haven’t picked up on it yet – is that he’s very unassuming, willing to recognize that all of us have areas of expertise. He leans on all of us when he needs to and lets us lean on him when we need to,” says Bell.
The mark of a great leader is to be humble enough to listen to others ideas while being confident enough of your own ideas to make the decisions necessary to move the activity forward. Servant leadership is rare these days but you can see it displayed throughout the UK Athletics Department. Football players go on mission trips to Africa each summer, basketball players visit hospitals, nursing homes, work as volunteers for community events, other athletic teams also do the same. Why do they do it? They see it demonstrated at the top from leaders like Mitch Barnhart and coaches like John Calipari. 
The bottom line is that an athletics department the size of UK’s comes with many moving parts. They have to all work together to be successful. A great leader is needed to make sure that each area functions as it should – with integrity, fiscal responsibility and competitiveness – while training the next generation of leaders to carry the torch. UK is fortunate to have just such a leader. 

Mitch Barnhart, like Douglas MacArthur, knows plenty about leadership

Nick Mingione and Mitch Barnhart (UK Athletics Photo)

Vaught’s note: This is the second part of a three-part series on what athletics director Mitch Barnhart has done at Kentucky.

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

The legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant said “Winning isn’t everything, but it beats anything that comes in second”. I believe that is the sentiment of most UK fans. It shows in the support of the teams, the celebrations after great victories and the raw emotion after heartbreaking losses.


Kentucky lucky to have Mitch Barnhart and here’s why

Mitch Barnhart (Vicky Graff Photo)

Vaught’s note: This is part one of a three part series on Mitch Barnhart and his impact on the University of Kentucky athletics program.

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

You’ve seen it before. Headlines about corruption, poor fiscal management, harassment. They go on and on. ” Baylor Athletic Director Resigns Amid Sexual Assaults Scandal”, “Illinois Fires Athletic Director In Wake Of Scandal”, ” University of Minnesota Athletic Director Resigns Over Drunk, Sexting Scandal With Co-workers”.

All 22 Kentucky teams surpass NCAA Academic Progress Rate cut score

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The NCAA released its Academic Progress Rate report Wednesday, showing that all 22 of the University of Kentucky sports teams surpassed the NCAA cut score. Twenty-one of the 22 squads – most in school history – exceeded or equaled the national average for public universities in their sports and, for the first time in school history, every Wildcat team scored at least 958.

The men’s basketball, men’s golf, softball and volleyball teams led the way with perfect 1,000 scores over the previous four years. Each of those teams was recognized last week with a national award for being in the top 10 percent of their respective sports. Having four teams earn the national award tied the school record.

Lisa Collins, Kyra Elzy to be inducted into Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame

LEXINGT­­­ON, Ky. – Current University of Kentucky women’s basketball associate head coach Kyra Elzy and former four-year letterwinner Lisa Collins have been named to the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame 2017 Class of Inductees and will be enshrined into the hall of fame this summer.

The 2017 class will be the sixth class to be inducted into the hall of fame, with ceremonies scheduled for this July in Elizabethtown, Ky. UK standout Carly Ormerod Bell was a member of the 2016 class, joining former UK star Geri Grigsby who was a member of the 2012 class.

75 Wildcats Set to Graduate Friday and Sunday in Rupp Arena

Drew Barker (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A total of 75 current and former University of Kentucky student-athletes will receive bachelor’s degrees in May Commencement ceremonies Friday and Sunday (10 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days) at Rupp Arena.

Along with the 33 Wildcats who completed bachelor’s degrees in December 2016, UK will have a total of 108 graduates in the 2016-17 academic year.

Included in the May honorees are three post-eligibility Wildcats who returned to complete degrees:

  • Christa Cabot Hammer (2011-15), All-America diver

Men’s basketball, women’s swimming and diving win team of the year honors at CATSPY Awards

Big crowd at CATSPY Award show tonight. (Chet White/UK Athletics)

By GUY RAMSEY, UK Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. –The 15th annual CATSPY Awards were held Monday in Memorial Coliseum to recognize athletic and academic performances during the 2016-17 year in the UK Athletics department. With co-winners in some categories, 20 individuals were recognized as well as four teams.

“It’s a real pleasure to have everyone here tonight,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a speech welcoming student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans. “As usual, everyone looks tremendous. It’s a night of celebrations, a night of achievement and a night of challenge. It’s been a real special year in a lot of ways.”

Milestones Conclude 2016-17 Season for Kentucky Women’s Basketball

Makenzie Cann (Victoria Graff Photo)

LEXINGT­­­ON, Ky. – Label the 2016-17 Kentucky women’s basketball season as a success as the Wildcats, paced by 10th-year head coach Matthew Mitchell, continued several milestones that have helped separate the program as one of the nation’s best.

Kentucky finished the season with a 22-11 record, earning its 18th 20-win season, including its eighth straight under Mitchell, which is a program record. The solid season led the Wildcats to another school record as UK played in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth straight season and hosted the first and second rounds of the event for the fourth straight year.

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