There was some complaining this weekend that I didn’t understand. To some extent, I did but not really. There’s a section, however small it may be, of the Kentucky fan base that wants Mitch Barnhart to be forced out.
I want to stress that I’m not in that section nor have I ever been. I have faith in the job that Barnhart does as the Wildcats athletic director. He’s doing a fine job of it. True, his open letter could have come sooner but we all knew going into the season that Joker Phillips was on the hot seat.
There are a lot of positives to what we have seen since Mitch Barnhart came to Kentucky. True, the Billy Gillispie hire was not the best of movies but Mitch Barnhart was quick to move on that after the second season following a trip to the NIT for the Kentucky Wildcats. Barnhart hired John Calipari and the rest is history. Four consecutive #1 recruiting classes have entered the doors at Kentucky and a 5th consecutive class is well on the way.
When Mickie DeMoss abruptly resigned as head coach of the women’s basketball team, she was shortly replaced by Matthew Mitchell. I’d say Mitchell and UK Hoops are doing just fine.
When John Cohen left his position as head coach of baseball to return to his alma mater of Mississippi State, Barnhart found a suitable replacement in Gary Henderson. Henderson’s 2012 squad set school records of all kinds this past season and he was rewarded with a new contract.
When Don Weber announced his retirement as head coach of the track and field and cross country teams, Barnhart brought Edrick Floreal back to Lexington, where he previously served as an assistant coach.
When it does come to replacing Joker Phillips, Barnhart would be smart to read this article that appeared in Sports Illustrated over the summer. It’s one of the reasons why I would not be opposed to Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart being considered. Would he be interested in the job? I don’t know.
For all the faults that Barnhart has shown in football, he has shown that he can do the job in other sports. He has made great hires before and he can do so again. I’m not saying Joker Phillips wasn’t a great hire. I had faith that he would do a good job at Kentucky. It just didn’t work out and I wish him nothing but the best of luck.