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Kentucky Steps Up To Keep Martin

It’s the middle of basketball season and yet folks in Kentucky actually have a little reason to smile about football today.  Over the weekend, the powers-that-be at UK stepped up to the plate and did what it took to keep receivers coach Tee Martin in Lexington.

Martin had been rumored to be a hot candidate to join Nick Saban’s Alabama staff until Saturday when UK announced that Martin had been promoted to the role of “passing game coordinator.”  He will also receive a contract extension and a raise.

Reports late last week pointed to an interview between Martin and Saban later this week.  Martin has said that he was contacted by other schools but never actually interviewed with anyone.

Granted, we’re talking about giving an assistant coach a raise.  This move isn’t akin to Arkansas committing to a $25-35 million football complex to appease Bobby Petrino.  But it is a smart move by UK’s administration.

“Operation Win” turned into a disappointing 6-7 campaign for first-year coach Joker Phillips.  The Wildcats failed to step up in a year when the SEC East was down.  In addition, they had to watch South Carolina break through in the East.  Then came the umpteenth (or would that now be umptieth?) loss in a row to Tennessee and a miserable showing in something called the BBVA Compass Bowl in chilly Birmingham.

The only positive going for the Cats right now is the popular Martin who is viewed as a fast up-and-comer and an excellent recruiter.  On top of everything that went wrong in 2010, UK couldn’t start 2011 by losing the one guy fans are actually excited about.

“First thing I would like to say is the commitment of Mitch Barnhart and our athletic department has made to this program,” Phillips said Saturday.  “Yes, we have been to five straight bowl games, and that is fine, but we want to start talking about playing for titles.  that is what we are about here at Kentucky.  Our ahtletic department has made a huge commitment also in helping us keep our assistant coaches here.  This is probably one of the biggest recruits to land before (signing day) is Tee Martin.”

Indeed he is.  Especially from a fan morale standpoint.

UK has not revealed the details of Martin’s extension or raise.  As passing game coordinator he will be responsible for passing game schemes and heading up passing drills in practice.

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Audio: Mitch Barnhart talks UK football

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

Here’s the audio of my talk with UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart outside the interview room once Kentucky had lost 24-14 to Tennessee, ending the Cats disappointing regular season at 6-6.

Barnhart said he believes UK is close, that it’s hard to get to the next step, and (oddly) mentioned that Texas had suffered a bad season. He also complimented first-year coach Joker Phillips on his discipline, and said the team needs to get where both the offense and defense are at the same level in terms of depth and talent. One year, the offense is good, the defense is not. The next year, it’s the other way around.

Click here to listen to the interview (4:25).

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Barnhart a KU candidate?

Kentucky
Content provided by Kentucky Wildcat sports beat.

Is Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart a candidate for the same position at Kansas? The…

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Barnhart: No Formal Contact With Kansas

Responding to a web report that states he is a top contender for — and is interested in — the AD’s job at Kansas, Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said via statement that there has been no contact between the Jayhawks and himself.


“Being a Kansas native with family in the area, having gone to Ottawa University in Kansas and my wife, Connie being a Kansas alum, I have many ties to the state.  We have received calls from friends and supporters of the university about the athletic director position at Kansas.  I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas.  I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics.”


No mention as to whether or not Barnhart has been informally contacted, which — in the world of college athletics — is usually how the hiring process begins.

Spokespeople for Kansas have said that while their search is moving at a faster pace than expected, no list of finalists has been created. 

Stay tuned…

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Kansas City Star says Barnhart not likely for Kansas

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

J. Brady McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports on the Kansas athletic director search.

In it, McCullough writes:

One logical candidate for KU would be Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart, a Mission native who graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School in 1977 and attended college at Ottawa University in Kansas. At Kentucky the last nine years, Barnhart also has experience running a department that has a historically prominent basketball program as its lifeblood.

Evans would not identify who had interviewed for the job. But a source with knowledge of KU’s search told The Star that Barnhart is not likely to land the Kansas job.

“It’d be tough for him to get in there,” the source said. “I wouldn’t spend a lot of time on Mitch Barnhart.”

The source also said that the search committee’s current targets are, like Barnhart, sitting athletic directors with impressive resumes.

(Hat tip WHAS radio.)

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UK’s Barnhart To Interview At KU?

According to the website SportsByBrooks.com, Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart will interview for the vacant Kansas AD’s job in early December.

Barnhart and Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham are believed to be the front-runners for the job.  Previous Kansas AD Lew Perkins retired following a ticket scandal was reported at the school this summer.

According to the site, three things are working in Barnhart’s favor:


“1) Barnhart’s experience presiding over a traditional, powerhouse basketball program.

2) Barnhart’s reputation for integrity — in the wake of the Kansas ticket scandal and other impropriety that plagued the late stages of Perkins’ regime.

3) Barnhart’s stellar reputation as one of the top fundraisers in college athletics.”


So why would Barnhart be interested in leaving Lexington?


“1) The Kansas AD gig is a great job and he’s originally from the state.  he was born in Kansas City and graduated from Ottawa (KS) University.

2) Landing the Kansas job would almost certainly involve a raise from Barnhart’s current base salary, which was $475,000 according to the Kentucky state employee database for 2010.  Barnhart has earned considerable money in bonuses over the years, including $30,000 if the Wildcats made a bowl game.

Perkins reportedly made an astounding $4.4 million his final full year on the job as KU AD, but much of that money was via bonuses derived from private funds.  Perkins’ base salary was reportedly $800,000 at the time of his ouster.

3) Barnhart’s concerned, for obvious reasons, that the recruiting methods of John Calipari may soon begin to reflect poorly on the school and his own reputation.”


Sources — s’up to you to believe them or not — told the author of this post that Barnhart is tiring of the negative media coverage and “constant sparring with the NCAA” that goes along with having Calipari as coach.

If it’s true that Barnhart and Kansas are talking, don’t look past the fact that UK president Lee Todd Jr., is retiring from his post next summer.  Todd hired Barnhart.  Most folks don’t like to inherit a new boss. 

That’s exactly why Calipari and Joker Phillips will likely be asking Barnhart a few questions about the SportsByBrooks story.

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Barnhart a KU candidate?

Kentucky
Content provided by Kentucky Wildcat sports beat.

Is Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart a candidate for the same position at Kansas? The…

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Report: Mitch Barnhart to Interview for Kansas AD Position

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Per SPORTSbyBrooks.com, UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart will interview for the vacant Kansas University athletic directior position in December.  The report states that along with Barnhart, Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham will interview for the opening.

Barnhart is originally from Kansas City, Kansas.  He has been at Kentucky since 2002.


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