When Kentucky fans think of Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, it’s hard for them to point out much bad.
Barnhart hired two outstanding head coaches in John Calipari and Mark Stoops to lead the schools’ two marquee athletic programs, helped bring a much needed and beautiful new baseball stadium to campus and help both UK football and basketball update their facilities.
For Stadium’s Jeff Goodman and Brett McMurphy, this wasn’t enough to earn their respect as they gave Barnhart a C+ grade, which ranked tied for worst among SEC Athletic Directors.
The duo did not rate Keith Carter of Ole Miss, Allen Greene of Auburn, or Candice Story Lee of Vanderbilt, as none have yet to make basketball or football hires; thus, Barnhart ranked tied with South Carolina’s Ray Turner who also was given a C+ as the lowest graded athletic director.
These rankings were solely based on hires for each SEC programs’ football and basketball programs not just in their current positions but also in their previous ones. Thus, the rankings did take into account Barnhart’s hires while at Oregon State from 1998-2002 as well as all of his moves since taking over at UK in 2002.
In all, Barnhart earned a B- Football grade for his hires of Dennis Erickson (Oregon State), Rich Brooks (Kentucky), Joker Phillips (Kentucky) and Mark Stoops (Kentucky). This grade already seems unfair as Erickson led the Beavers to a 31-17 record and three bowl games, Brooks led UK to four bowl games and Stoops is now .500 (44-44) despite going a combined 12-24 in his first two seasons’ in Lexington.
As for basketball, Barnhart graded out at a C+. He hired both Ritchie Kay and Jay John at Oregon State while bringing Billy Gillespie and John Calipari to Kentucky. While the first three hires weren’t great, Calipari has led the program to six SEC titles, five Final Fours, and a National Championship. Thus, it’s hard to see why he only earned a C+ here.
Goodman has never quite been a Kentucky lover; thus maybe this grade makes sense after all.
Here’s where how each SEC athletic director graded out:
Scott Woodward, LSU Tigers: A-
Greg Byrne, Alabama Crimson Tide: B+
Greg McGarity, Georgia Bulldogs: B
Jim Sterk, Missouri Tigers: B
Hunter Yurachek, Arkansas Razorbacks: B
Ross Bjork, Texas A&M Aggies: B-
John Cohen. Mississippi State Bulldogs: B-
Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee Volunteers: B-
Scott Stricklin, Florida Gators: B-
Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky Wildcats: C+
Ray Turner, South Carolina Gamecocks: C+