Originally Posted by WMR
You're not going to change my thinking on how the Cal hire went down, because I've heard how it happened straight from the mouths of people who have given me great info before and have never been wrong when it comes to UK info.
So have I.
And we're hearing two different things here.
My sources say Barnhart wasn't in favor of the hire until meeting with Calipari face-to-face. (Same with the UK President, fwiw.) Too much baggage. Too much smoke.
Barnhart questioned him. A lot. Grilled him, in fact. Got all the right answers. Still wanted another coach, but acquiesced to the majority. He didn't scream or pout or cry. He pulled no strings, but was honest. As Calipari came into Kentucky, Barnhart, according to my sources, became a fan. He recognized the advantages of having a Kentucky coach who knew the Kentucky Way.
Calipari has no problem with Barnhart, other than the fact that he's an AD and forced to do things many might not like. He's a fact-checker and an alliance guy. He asks questions, sometimes hard ones. Of Calipari and everyone else connected with the program.
Has there been friction? Sure. There always is in relationships where two people are in charge. Calipari wants to be the biggest, best, and most creative coach in America. (I'd argue he's been revolutinary as a college coach in the way he interacts with recruits, parents, AAU coaches, handlers, and fans. He would have made billions in advertising.) But no more than the friction between Pitino and his ADs (less, if there's truth to the rumor between Rick and former UK AD CM Newton) and much, much less than that between Barnhart and Gillespie (which, again, according to one guy, was legendarily rancorous).
Barnhart's improved all sports at Kentucky aside from football. They're now a respectable SEC member almost across the board. He's added to the Kentucky coffers. Which is his job. He's kept all UK sports pretty much crystal clean. (Or as much as big-time sports can be at the Division I level.)
I don't get the hate, honestly.