Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Davis Motor Sales banner ad
Posted on 2/2/14

uk logo1 300LEXINGTON, Ky. (6/27/13) – With another year in the books, the University of Kentucky athletic department continues to advance toward its goal of building a comprehensive program that excels in all areas.
 
On Thursday, word arrived that UK has attained its best finish ever in one of the most recognizable measures of athletic department success: the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup.
 
UK is 25th in the final 2012-13 Directors’ Cup standings, the first top-25 finish in school history. The previous record finish of 26th came in 1996-97. UK also tied a school record by placing sixth among Southeastern Conference schools even though the conference featured 14 teams for the first time this season. The SEC led all conferences with three institutions in the top 10: Florida (second), Texas A&M (fifth) and Georgia (10th).
 
The finish continues a pattern of consistent improvement in the Directors’ Cup during the Mitch Barnhart era. UK has now finished in the top 30 of final Directors’ Cup standings in three of the last four years after a 50th-place finish in 2002-03, the first year after Barnhart’s arrival. With that steady upward trend, Barnhart’s ambitious aim of finishing in the top 15 by 2015 as part of the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan introduced in 2008 seems attainable.
 
The Directors’ Cup was founded in 1993-94 as a result of a joint effort by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today. Points are awarded by sport when teams advance to the postseason in sports sanctioned by the NCAA. Fifteen of UK’s 22 programs combined to score UK’s 748 points, led by rifle’s second-place finish, an Elite Eight appearance by women’s basketball and trips to the round of 16 by volleyball, men’s tennis and softball.
 
Rifle also brought home a conference championship in 2013, adding another tally toward Barnhart’s goal of 15 conference and national titles won before 2015. Now at 11 since 2008, UK needs four more championships in the next two seasons to reach its objective. UK student-athletes also reached Barnhart’s goal of a 3.0 department-wide grade-point average in both the fall and spring semesters for the first time in 2012-13, fulfilling the academic side of the 15 by 15 by 15 vision.
 
But even with all that success, improvement is on Barnhart’s mind.
 
"When you have 22 programs, you have some highs and some lows, some things that you wanted to do really, really well and some things that you want to do better," Barnhart said in a recent interview with Gary Graves of the Associated Press. "Sometimes, we take it for granted because we've been steady the last few years in consistent growth. But clearly, the sports that gather the most attention, rightly or wrongly, are ones we've got to get better in."
 
The sports about which Barnhart is talking are, of course, men’s basketball and football. Even though neither contributed toward UK’s record Directors’ Cup finish, there’s reason to believe they will both be doing so soon.
 
"It's been an interesting year in that we've had some things to celebrate, and that's been fun," Barnhart said. "Fans look at three or four sports, first and foremost, and it's interesting that while we might not have had the success that we've wanted or been used to, excitement for those sports is at an all-time high."
 
Barely a year removed from its eighth national championship, John Calipari’s men’s basketball program will welcome one of the top recruiting classes in history next season and could be in line for a preseason No. 1 ranking. Mark Stoops, meanwhile, has whipped Kentucky’s football fan base into a frenzy during his first seven months on the job. After UK signed an impressive class in February, 50,831 attended the Blue/White Spring game to help set the stage for what could be an even better 2014 class.
 
Barnhart is now challenging those teams to turn excitement into results during the next season and beyond and asking those that had success in 2012-13 to pursue even more.
 
This spring, he had t-shirts made and distributed to student-athletes, coaches and staff emblazoned with the phrase “Almost Isn’t Good Enough.” To put it another way, Barnhart is telling everyone involved in UK Athletics that pursuit of anything less than being the best is unacceptable.
 
"We've done a lot of great things in the last year and over the last decade," Barnhart said at the CATSPY Awards in April. "That's now just the foundation. We're on a new journey and much more is expected."
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by UK Athletics

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
1 DOW 17,387.21
-291.49 (-1.65%)    
2 S&P 2,029.55
-27.54 (-1.34%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,681.50
-90.27 (-1.89%)    
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

January 23, 2015 8977

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 22, 2015 7249

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 21, 2015 6467

KYDOT Pre-Treating Roads Thursday in Antipation…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 22, 2015 6026

MCEA Head: Further School Mergers Might Ease…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 5763

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 25, 2015 5023

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 21, 2015 4936

Man Arrested after Allegedly Nodding off on Baby…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 23, 2015 4598

Nortonville Woman Charged for Meth Possession

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center

Most Read This Month

January 08, 2015 20717

Woman Claiming to be 'Lady Gaga' Tours Town in…

in Top News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
January 15, 2015 20502

UPDATE: Fatality Victim's Name Officially Released

in Top News For All Sites by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 26, 2015 4224

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 26, 2015 3365

Man Goes to Jail after Allegedly Attacking Family

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 25, 2015 3056

Juvenile Hit by Vehicle at McDonald's

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by GPD Officer Wes Miller
January 26, 2015 2314

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 26, 2015 2282

Madisonville Post Welcomes New Troopers

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper S. C. Recke
January 26, 2015 2066

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in General News For All Sites by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
January 26, 2015 1972

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 26, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 26, 2015 1830

Kentucky Highway Crews Prepared for Snow into the…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 26, 2015 1760

Hopkins District Court Fines Handed Down

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Circuit Clerk's Office
January 26, 2015 1506

McClearn Remains Optimistic I-69 Signs up Between…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Keith Todd
January 26, 2015 1147

Raffle for Custom Motorcycle to Benefit Trooper…

in General News For All Sites by Sherry H. Bray
January 26, 2015 1137

Dawson Springs Police Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Melissa Heflin