School Officials to Launch a National Search for Athletic Director

July 15, 2002

Corvallis, Ore. - Oregon State University President Paul Risser said he will immediately launch a national search to replace outgoing Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, who has accepted a job at the University of Kentucky.

'I am excited for Mitch's new opportunity to be closer to his family and friends,' Risser said. 'He has done a terrific job here, and I regret losing a good friend as well as an excellent leader. The university community and the State of Oregon have all been blessed with Mitch and his family. He leaves a department that is very successful in every way.'

Risser appointed Barnhart to become Oregon State's 11th director of athletics on Feb. 12, 1998. Before coming to OSU, Barnhart spent 12 years at the University of Tennessee athletic department where he developed a solid background in marketing and fund raising.

At OSU, Barnhart was successful in reducing the athletic department's debt, increasing donations from boosters, and building new facilities. His accomplishments include:

*Reducing OSU's $12.5 million debt to $4.5 million by June 30, 2002.

*Generating $12 million to building an indoor football practice facility and new softball complex.

* Generating the largest cash donation - $5 million - in the history of OSU athletics to rename Parker Stadium to Reser Stadium.

* Increasing annual giving to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund from $800,000 to nearly $5 million.

* Producing record season football ticket sales in 2001 with a complete season sellout of 23,011 season tickets.

* Hiring football coach Dennis Erickson, men's basketball coach Jay John, volleyball coach Nancy Somera, and men's soccer coach Dana Taylor.

* Completing NCAA certification for the athletic department in the spring of 2001.

With the recent success and national prominence of OSU's athletic programs, Risser said the position of athletic director at Oregon State should attract top-notch applicants.

'This is one of the premier athletic director jobs in the country and we will start a national search process immediately with the expectation of appointing the new AD as soon as possible,' Risser said.

Risser said no decision has been made on interim leadership for the athletic department.

In addition to his success at OSU, Barnhart has been active in NCAA and Pacific-10 Conference committees. He is currently a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee, plus he serves on five different Pac-10 Conference committees, including serving as chair of the conference's Men's Basketball Tournament Committee.

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