Mitch Barnhart, you are on the hook.

March 25, 2009

This is an online petition intended to tie the future of Mitch Barnhart directly with the future of Billy Gillispie.

Please read this petition and “sign” it in the comments section if you support this viewpoint.



Two years ago, when you realized that Tubby Smith was leaving for Minnesota, you got the chance to do something very few people ever have the honor to do.  You got the opportunity to hire a basketball coach to lead the top team in the history of college basketball.

Up until this point, you have been working with Coach Smith, who left unsatisfied with the demands you put on him.  I have no problem with that.  

Your previous hires had been fine I suppose.  Rich Brooks worked out as your 4th or 5th choice and baseball seems to be good.  No offense, but no hire you could ever make is half as important as the one you made 2 years ago.

SO, when you got ready to find that coach, you would obviously form a comittee of people who know basketball inside and out.  You would consult with previous coaches and maybe even talk to people who know your candidates to properly vette your candidate.  This process would obviously take a while due to the magnitude of the situation.  UK basketball needs the right guy to bring it back and you obviously would get all the information needed to do the right thing.

What?  You mean you are going to just do it all yourself?  Oh, well, in that case, you obviously must know a ton about basketball.  I’m sure you must have played college ball and probably came from a coaching background.  You probably have as much experience in basketball as the hire you are about to make, right?

No?  are you serious?  You are going to just call a coach who is known to be a hard nosed Bobby Knight type.  Well, surely you have a LEAST googled his name and saw the interviews on Youtube where he was less than patient with some media reporters.  Surely you did that at least.  This is kind of important.  

No?  You didn’t?  Well, I hope you at least talked to people who have known him for years.  Those people will tell you that he has one thing in his mind.  Coaching basektball.  They will tell you that he has less than zero interest in shaking hands with boosters and signing basketballs when his team is not winning every game.  They will tell you that he isn’t an extroverted person.  He shys away from crowds and has no patience for stupidity and those who want to tell him how to coach.  That’s a no brainer that you would do that, right?

Fine.  Have it your way.  Call him up, fly him in and sign him to a contract within 24 hours.  Yeah, a contract called a “memorandum of understanding”.  Because you are not going to be able to get him to sign  a formal employment agreement once your FINALLY do your job and put the responsibilites you expect him to do in print.  Of course, you could have avoided all this had you handled this properly in the first place.

So now here you are.  You have a coach you obviously do not like and can’t get to do what you want.  You seemingly have no option but to fire this man after only TWO years which is unheard of in basketball circles.  Even the most obvious coaching mistakes typically get three years to show their team on the court.  

Making another coaching change at this point is going to set UK basketball back ANOTHER three years while a new coach has to bring in players and teach his style.  He will be behind the ball on recruiting, just like Gillispie was when he got here.  He will almost certainly benefit from the recruits coach Gillispie has lined up to come to UK, but it’s almost certain that some will not end up at UK.

Mitch Barnhart, if you have to fire this coach after two years, then you need to go with him.  I’m sorry.  I don’t know you personally and have heard you are good as most aspects of being UK’s Athletic Director, but this is crazy.  To mess up SO BAD with the ONE thing that UK fans demand you do well is not excusable.  I do not trust you to make another basketball hire.  

Mitch, if Billy goes, please go with him.  Dr. Todd, please make this happen.


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