LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - Mitch Barnhart has done his part as Kentucky athletic director, with several top teams and a couple national titles in his time. Barnhart and his family will be remembered after he's gone now, as UK donors named the new baseball, soccer and softball athletic complex on Alumni Drive, the Barnhart Family Athletics Complex.
The name was given by UK donors Vickie and Wendell Bell.
"As part of their latest gift to UK Athletics, the Bells requested that the baseball, softball and soccer complex be named in honor of the long-standing service and commitment to the UK student-athletes by UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and his wife Connie Barnhart," a University of Kentucky news release said.
"Vickie and Wendell Bell root for all UK sports. But they also became deeply devoted to sports that often aren’t played in the limelight, in front of thousands of fans or on national TV. Mitch and Connie Barnhart’s passion for all of our sports — and all of our student-athletes — has inspired the Bells’ giving in this way. That is extraordinary. And, in my judgment, meets the definition of extraordinary asked for in our regulations regarding these kinds of gifts.”
Barnhart has served as UK's athletic director since 2002. In his time, Kentucky won national titles in basketball (2012) and co-ed rifle (2011, 2018).
Barnhart is the longest-tenured athletics director in the SEC. He was named chair of the SEC Athletics Directors in 2017 and was named Athletic Director of the Year in 2019 by Sports Business Journal.