UK AD Barnhart receives contract extension

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart received a contract extension on Friday that will keep him at the helm of the school’s athletics department for another five years.

Barnhart, who has served as Kentucky’s athletics director since 2002, received a contract extension from Kentucky President Eli Capilouto. Barnhart’s current contract ends in 2026, which is now extended until June 2028. His base salary remains intact, and “the retention incentives for the athletics director reflect changes of $100,000 in the first year with $50,000 increases in the two years subsequent. Other performance incentives – for academic and athletic metrics would not change.

According to a university release, with a six-month notice he can step down from his current role and assume the position of special assistant to the president for two years at a reduced salary of $800,000 annually.

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“I am deeply appreciative of the faith in me expressed by President Capilouto and the university. It is an honor to represent this university and state and to guide our athletics department through a period of such consequential change in college athletics,” Barnhart said.

“My enthusiasm for the job and commitment to being the best program in the country is as strong as it has ever been, and I remain incredibly passionate about helping our students succeed in the classroom, on the fields of play, and, most importantly, in life. This is what we do. That is who we are. For me, it’s about putting championship rings on their fingers and UK diplomas in their hands. Kentucky is my home — my children grew up here; my grandchildren are being raised here — and I am gratified to be able to end my career here.”

Barnhart has guided the athletics program to six national titles, 54 Southeastern Conference regular-season and conference titles, and has invested more than $400 million in new and renovated facilities during his tenure.