Mitch Barnhart Talks About Greg Byrne

Kentucky's Director of Athletics, Mitch Barnhart, who has worked with Mississippi State's new Athletic Director Greg Byrne at Oregon State and Kentucky, talks about what Greg will bring to Mississippi State.

What are your thoughts about Greg Byrne?
"He was with me at Oregon State and he was with me at Kentucky, so I've known Greg since he was a young man. His father gave me my first job at the University of Oregon. I'm awfully proud and happy for him. He's like family to me.

"I think Greg is one of the bright young minds in college athletics. He has experienced college athletics at the highest level in a variety of conferences in a number of spots."

When he was with you at Kentucky what were some things you were impressed with that you feel he will bring to Mississippi State?
"Obviously, he brings an unbelievable energy and passion for college athletics. He has a large number of ideas about ways to make things better. And he's not afraid to implement those if he thinks they will improve the program for the student-athletes benefit."

Do you feel he's the kind of person who can unite a fanbase and also bring in new ideas to generate new revenue?
"The thing that he does well is he understands fan bases and how to rally them together. We had a very fractured and a very inactive fanbase at Oregon State. We did not have any money at Oregon State. And at Kentucky we walked into a situation where we were a school that was on probation, so he had an opportunity to walk through both of those type situations with me. And both times, he put the blueprints in place for funding models and things that would bring energy to our program that would help me to put things in place that would give us a chance to succeed."

It sounds like he was very directly involved in the details at both universities.
"Absolutely. He was in the daily struggles you have when you are trying to grow programs. So he understands foundational pieces. And he understands birthing ideas. He understands what it means to grow something into something special that gives you the opportunity to win championships. He's been a part of championships."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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