By LARRY VAUGHT
Do I agree with everything that University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart says or does?
Absolutely not — and I am sure he feels the same about what I write and say.
However, for Jeff Goodman and Brett McMurphy of the Stadium to rate Barnhart as only the 12th best AD in the 14-team Southeastern Conference is a bit ridiculous.
The two based their grades mainly on on postseason success and the win-loss record of each football and basketball coach the AD hired.
Barnhart has been at UK 18 years. No other SEC athletics director has been on the job for more than 10 years so obviously Barnhart is doing something right. Yet the Stadium gave him only a C+ grade — higher than just two other SEC athletic directors.
Obviously Barnhart made a terrible hire with men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie. But I give him a lot of credit for not being afraid to admit that and make another change after two years that brought John Calipari to Kentucky. Same with promoting Joker Phillips to succeed Rich Brooks. But Barnhart certainly hit a UK homer with Mark Stoops.
And while grades apparently were also based on what Barnhart did at Oregon State, that’s ancient history. His last two hires — Calipari and Stoops — have been among the best ever at UK yet Goodman gave a B+ to Arkansas for hiring Eric Musselman. Really? A C+ for Calipari and a B+ for Musselman. Not much credibility left there.
And I think any grade of Barnhart that does not include what he’s done with UK’s other sports is not fair. Volleyball, softball, gymnastics, swimming and other sports have reached new highs under Barnhart with coaches he has hired.
So while you may not give him an A+ at Kentucky, ranking him at the bottom of the SEC is just ridiculous.