KU Rules Out Barnhart; Targets 2 New Candidates

Two weeks ago I reported that current Univ. of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and Tulsa Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham were getting heavy consideration for the vacant Kansas Athletic Director position.

Mitch Barnhart Kentucky Athletic Director To Interview With Kansas

(No interview? Thank you come again)

After my report, Barnhart released a statement that included, “I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas. I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics.”

From what I was told today by a source, Barnhart won’t have to worry about Kansas distracting him any longer.

Because of my report, Barnhart subsequently communicated to those associated with the search for the new Kansas AD that he was still interested in the job, but that he couldn’t interview in order to keep up appearances in Lexington.

In other words, if KU wanted Barnhart, it would have to hire him without an interview.

That didn’t go over so well in Lawrence, so Barnhart is no longer a candidate for the job.

That leaves current Tulsa Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham as the leading candidate for the job.

I’ve also been told of two other candidates that Kansas now is targeting for the job: Illinois State Athletic Director Dr. Sheahon Zenger and Univ. of Central Florida Athletic Director Keith Tribble.

Tribble is a former CEO of the Orange Bowl committee and has overseen a massive facility upgrade at UCF. Zenger has a college football coaching background which includes fulltime duty at K-State under Bill Snyder. (Zenger is from Hays, KS.)

As I reported two weeks ago, Kansas is hiring a new AD with a significant upgrade of its football program in mind, so it’s no surprise that Tribble and Zenger have football backgrounds. Cunningham also has significant experience working in the Notre Dame athletic department.

Three damn good candidates if you ask me.

I’ve been told a hire will be made in the next week or so.

Amazing what a homegrown search firm made up of successful corporate executives - from the real world - can find without the benefit of a college crony masquerading as a legitimate headhunter.

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