Barnhart not formally contacted by Kansas


UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart introduces UK head coach Joker Phillips at a news conference. Photo by Adam Wolffbrandt

Reports surfaced Monday morning on the national sports blog “SPORTSbyBROOKS” that UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart was a finalist for the University of Kansas athletic director spot and would interview in December for the position.

Barnhart, a Kansas native, issued a statement saying Kansas had not formally reached out to him about the position.

“We have received calls from friends and supporters of the university about the athletic director position at Kansas,” Barnhart said in the release. “I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas.”

Barnhart, who was born in Kansas City and graduated from Ottawa University in Kansas, acknowledged his ties to the state but stated his commitment to UK.

“I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics,” Barnhart said.

Barnhart did not deny interest in the Kansas athletic director position.

The Kansas City Star had an article Monday after the original report quoting an unnamed source saying Barnhart was “not likely to land” the Kansas job.

Jack Martin, deputy director for University Communications at Kansas, said specific finalists have not been determined. The spot is currently held by interim Athletic Director Sean Lester, who took over after Lew Perkins unexpectedly retired a year earlier than planned in September.

Barnhart has held his position as athletic director for nine years. His statement cited UK’s progression in certain athletic areas while identifying targets for future improvements.

“We have initiated the process of building a new track and are focused on how we can upgrade Commonwealth Stadium and our football facilities,” Barnhart said. “Our 22 sports receive unbelievable support from the Big Blue Nation and our fans deserve championship-level success across the board.”