Now that the most successful baseball season in UK history is in the books, Kentucky baseball coach Gary Henderson is still waiting for the ink to dry on his new 2.1 million dollar-5-year contract, which he was just offered today:
After leading UK baseball to a school record 45 wins, Gary Henderson has a new five-year contract worth 2.1 million over 5 years.
Henderson was the SEC Coach of the year. That included the best finishes ever for UK in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments.
"I want to thank the Big Blue Nation," Henderson said. "Our fans came out and supported us in a big way this spring. We are going to do everything possible to give them another exciting, winning team to make it easy for them to continue coming out to the ballpark."
So now that Mitch Barnhart has his coach taken care of, the Kentucky Athletics Director is turning a critical eye toward aging Cliff Hagan stadium.
The Cats Pause is reporting that the University of Kentucky is exploring options for a new baseball stadium
"Do we want a new stadium? Yes, we do," Barnhart said.
While there is still ongoing discussion about whether the Cats could potentially upgrade and expand Cliff Hagan Stadium, sources told The Cats' Pause the clear preference is to start from scratch and build a new, state-of-the-art stadium and baseball complex. Cliff Hagan Stadium was originally built in 1969 and has undergone three renovations, the most recent coming in 2007.
"I'm very optimistic we are going to improve our facilities," Henderson said. "I've had several talks with Mitch and he's absolutely behind it. I understand the climate we're dealing with financially right now but I also understand Mitch's commitment and I feel very good we're going to move in a positive direction."
Kentucky's continued success in baseball depends not only on a quality coaching staff, but also on quality baseball facilities. Right now, Kentucky is well behind many of the SEC's top baseball programs facilities-wise, and plans to erase or at least narrow that gap in a timely fashion.
Just how timely?
While there is no definitive timetable to announcing potential plans, sources have indicated there is optimism a facility project could move forward by the summer of 2013.
The sooner, the better, especially since Kentucky's facilities had a lot to do with why they were not selected to host a regional this year. Despite meeting the minimum size requirement, Cliff Hagan Stadium has ongoing access and parking issues that a new stadium will be designed to solve.