Barnhart May Take UK Job

Mitch Barnhart, considered a leading contender to succeed Doug Dickey as UT's athletics director, may be the new AD at Kentucky instead.

The Associated Press reports that Barnhart, who currently oversees the athletics department at Oregon State, visited Lexington earlier this week and met with UK officials about the vacancy. He is believed to be one of three finalists for the job.

Barnhart spent 12 years at UT before taking the top job at Oregon State four years ago. One of his first moves was the hiring of former NFL and University of Miami coach Dennis Erickson, who guided the 2000 Beavers to their first Pac-10 Conference championship in nearly four decades. Barnhart's tenure also has seen him quadruple the amount raised for scholarships to more than $4 million.

Should Barnhart take the UK job, that probably would eliminate him from consideration for Tennessee's AD position.

Besides Barnhart, other leading candidates to eventually succeed Dickey are Pittsburgh AD Steve Pederson, Louisville AD Tom Jurich and Boston College AD Gene Defilippo.

Pederson's ties to UT include serving as recruiting coordinator (1991-92) and director of football operations ('93). Jurich is a friend and former employee of current UT president John Shumaker at Louisville, while Defilippo is a close friend of Vol football coach Phillip Fulmer.

Also mentioned in some quarters as AD candidates are three UT grads — Mark Dyer of Host Communications, Dick Williams and Bob Johnson. Williams and Johnson are successful businessmen who played football at UT, while Dyer worked in the athletics department.

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