TAYLOR: Q&A with UK AD Mitch Barnhart, Part 2

University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart answered some questions after giving a speech to the Clark County UK Alumni Association. Part two of the interview gives insight into the UK basketball program and Coach Billy Gillispie.

What has been your impression of the fans? response to men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie?

"When you're looking for a fresh start, new coaches generally bring a little bit of that (excitement). But Billy has brought an awful a lot of enthusiasm to the program. It's been exciting and he's worked with the basketball side of it extremely hard (to) get us to a spot where Kentucky fans want to be (and feel comfortable with), and that's playing in Final Fours and for national championships. That's exciting for our fans to talk about it, but he hasn't coached a game at Kentucky yet and that will be a new experience for him. It will be something he has never experienced before."

What sticks out to you the most about coach Gillispie?

"He's extremely hard-working and he's unbelievably relentless in his pursuit of making the program better. Billy has done a remarkable job of getting us into homes in recruiting that we need to be in."

What was the hiring process like for you back in the spring?

"I have to be honest, it was stressful. You feel the eyes of everybody watching you and evaluating how you do it. It was a little nerve racking. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. I've been through a lot of coaching searches, but I had never been through one like that. I stayed at home most of the time and did most of the work from my house. I got out and went to a couple of places, but by and large, I stayed at home."

Did the timing of Tubby Smith's departure make it tougher on you?

"That made it hard, but I met a lot of different people in the process and that was good, but at the same time, I was glad when it was over with. With Mickie (DeMoss) leaving, we had women's softball and women's golf that opened up directly after that, it just seemed like I was in a search mode for four straight months. It took its toll over the summer, and I'm not fussing about that at all, but I'm hopeful we won't have to hire 25 percent of coaches next year and we can get to a spot maybe where we can have that stability that we're looking for."

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