Mitch Barnhart is in his 16th year as Kentucky athletic director.
He was named NCAA Division I Athletic Director of the Year in 2015 and is the longest tenured athletic director in the SEC.
It’s no surprise, then, that Barnhart was named chair of SEC athletic directors on Tuesday, according to a release. He replaces Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs, who has held the post since 2012.
He will lead all meetings of conference athletic directors in his new role.
“Mitch’s experience as a proven leader makes him uniquely qualified to head our group of athletics directors during this particularly important time in the history of intercollegiate athletics,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.
Barnhart came to Kentucky from Oregon State where he served as athletic director from 1998 to 2002. He has also chaired the NCAA competition oversight committee.
“He commands the ability to identify solutions to problems and to navigate complex issues with a diverse group of strong leaders from our various institutions,” Sankey added. “I look forward to working with Mitch in his new role.”