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Mitch Barnhart: UK doesn’t need best house in neighborhood as long as it is in neighborhood like it is now with facilities

Kentucky added a cold pool at its new training facility during renovations that were cutting edge at the time but now might need upgraded again to keep up with other SEC programs. (Vicky Graff Photo)


No matter how much Kentucky seems to spend to upgrade facilities, it’s never enough to get ahead — or sometimes even stay even with what other Southeastern Conference teams do.

Recently LSU unveiled upgrades to its football facility that made national headlines and made what UK did to upgrade its facilities recently not seem quite so grand.

Will the need to spend more and more just to keep up ever end?

“I think each institution has to answer that on their own merits, what they want to do. I think that we’re in a really good spot. I think that we’ve invested in things that have had an impact on our program,” Kentukcy athletics director Mitch Barnhart said.

“We’ve got several things out there we’re trying to work on. The renovation of Memorial Coliseum is huge on my list. It is really, really important to me to renovate that facility to a spot that gives it credit to the history of the facility that it deserves, recognizing the people that it deserves to recognize.

“Our tennis facility, we need to work on that. It is something that we’ve talked about moving. We’ve got the plans for it. We would like to move it.


Football coach Mark Stoops has improvements he would like to see to the football indoor facility. The outdoor track is another facility Barnhart would like to upgrade.

“But in terms of the actual arms race, I think institutions, they get behind, and then all of a sudden they want to jump up and get ahead, and all of a sudden — I don’t know if you’ll ever completely get out of it, but I do think you can be in a good spot,” Barnhart said. “I always say, I’ve said this, and I said it a long time ago. Again, I’ve been here long time that I don’t remember what year I said much, but I remember saying we didn’t have to be the best house in the neighborhood but we just needed to be in the neighborhood.

“As long as we’re in the neighborhood and we can have a conversation about being in it, I think that’s okay.

What we’ve developed in my opinion, I think in our staff’s opinion and in our coaches’ opinions, some really classy facilities. Our facilities are really nice. Our student-athletes enjoy coming to them every day, and they enjoy working out, and they enjoy where they live, so to speak.

“That’s first and foremost in my mind, making sure we get those pieces right, that they feel like they’re worthy of being in the SEC and that we’ve treated them well and that they’ve got all the things that they need to really compete.

“We don’t need some of the things that I think are in some of the facilities in today’s world, but I think that the necessities of what we’ve got to have to compete, we can do that, and we’ve got enough. We’re working at that at a pretty high level.


  1. This is why many can’t afford tickets anymore. UK’s facilities are very nice now, but UK will need to keep pace with the LSU’s and the cream of the crop in the SEC.

  2. The problem is we were light years behind of some sports complex do to the basketball program. Barnhart has change that in some areas

    1. Yes he has

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