Mitch Barnhart is Director of Athletics at the University of Kentucky, a position he has held since July 2002. His professional history includes four successful years as Athletic Director at Oregon State University just prior to coming to the University of Kentucky. Additionally he has spent 12 years in various leadership positions at the University of Tennessee, Southern Methodist University and San Diego State University.
Under Barnhart’s leadership, the University of Kentucky athletic department secured significant funding by negotiating major increases in the school’s media and endorsement contracts. He has also enhanced the university’s philanthropic efforts, allowing the athletic department to make major capital improvements in buildings and facilities. Combined, these steps provide funding for all 22 varsity sports programs, and more importantly, support the department’s deep commitment to develop well-educated student athletes.
Barnhart’s desire for excellence is a cornerstone in making Kentucky one of the top athletic programs in the nation. Under his guidance, UK Wildcat teams have won Southeastern Conference (SEC) titles in women’s tennis, men’s baseball, golf and basketball. Four UK coaches received SEC Coach of the Year honors in 2005-2006.
A native of Kansas City, KS Barnhart received his bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University (Kansas) in 1981 and earned his master’s degree in sports administration at Ohio University in 1982.
Mitch and his wife, Connie, have three children: Kirby, Blaire, and Scott. They reside in the Lexington, KY area. Mitch is a committed Christian, active in church, and a huge fan of Christian music.
Barnhart currently serves on the board of Ichthus Ministry and began his four-year term on the K-LOVE Board of Directors in 2007.