Mitch Barnhart named to College Football Playoff Selection Committee

Barnhart is currently chair of the D-I Men’s Basketball Committee

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IRVING, Texas – The College Football Playoff (CFP) Management Committee has appointed Mitch Barnhart, athletics director at the University of Kentucky; Boo Corrigan, athletics director at North Carolina State University; Chris Del Conte, athletics director at the University of Texas; Will Shields, former All-American lineman at the University of Nebraska; and Joe Taylor, longtime coach and currently athletics director at Virginia Union University, to the CFP Selection Committee, it was announced today by Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the CFP.

The new members will begin three-year terms starting this spring. They will replace Joe Castiglione, Ken Hatfield, Ronnie Lott, Todd Stansbury and Scott Stricklin, whose terms have expired.

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Hancock also announced that the management committee has extended the term of University of Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta as selection committee chair for a second year through the 2021 football season.

“Mitch, Boo, Chris, Will and Joe will continue the integrity that has been the committee’s hallmark through our seven seasons,” Hancock said. “Their knowledge, experience and character, along with their love of the sport of college football, will make the transition seamless.”

“We are pleased that Gary will return as chair,” Hancock added. “He was a valuable leader as the committee navigated a unique and challenging year. We look forward to him working with the other 12 members in what we hope will be a more traditional season in 2021.”

Mitch Barnhart has served as athletics director at the University of Kentucky since 2002. With a commitment to excellence on the field and in the classroom, he has overseen $300 million in facility enhancements while Kentucky student-athletes have maintained a GPA above 3.0 for 17 consecutive semesters. In 2019 Barnhart was named Athletic Director of the Year by the Sports Business Journal.

Barnhart has extensive leadership experience on the NCAA Division I Council, as chair of the NCAA Competition Oversight Committee and as a member of the NCAA Division I Basketball and Baseball Committees. As the longest-tenured athletics director in the Southeastern Conference, he was named chair of the SEC Athletics Directors in 2017.

Barnhart arrived at UK from Oregon State, where he served four years (1998-2002) as athletics director. Before OSU, he worked in athletics administration posts at Tennessee (1986-98), Southern Methodist University (1983-86), Oregon (1983) and San Diego State (1982-83). He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University (Kansas) in 1981 and a master’s in sports administration from Ohio University.

Boo Corrigan has served as athletics director at North Carolina State University since April 2019. Previously he served eight years as director of athletics at West Point. Under his leadership, Army claimed 20 Patriot League regular season or tournament championships and sent 14 teams to the NCAA postseason. Army also boasted 16 Academic All-Americans, including eight first-team selections. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Army had nine Patriot League Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Corrigan was named a 2017 Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

Before joining Army, Corrigan worked for three years in the athletic department at Duke, serving as senior associate athletics director for external affairs. Corrigan also served five years as associate athletics director for marketing at the University of Notre Dame and three years as associate athletics director for marketing at the U.S. Naval Academy. He was the assistant director of marketing at Florida State University from 1992 to 1996.

Corrigan received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Notre Dame in 1990 and earned a master’s degree in education from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013.

Chris Del Conte has served as vice president and athletics director at the University of Texas since December 2017. During his time in Austin, Del Conte has spearheaded a number of facility projects designed to expand amenities for student-athletes and enhance the coaches offices, along with providing a number of improvements and additions to gameday fan experiences for football, baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, swimming & diving and track & field.

Before arriving in Austin, Del Conte served as director of athletics at Texas Christian University for eight years, where he oversaw the school’s entrance into the Big 12 Conference. From 2006-09 Del Conte served at the director of athletics at Rice University. Prior to Rice, Del Conte was the senior associate athletics director for external operations and sports programs at the University of Arizona (2000-06). Del Conte also served as an assistant athletics director for external operations at both Washington State (1998-99) and Cal Poly (1994-98).

Del Conte received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from UC Santa Barbara, where he was a track and field student-athlete, and a master’s degree in education, administration and supervision from Washington State.

Will Shields is one of the most highly decorated offensive linemen in the history of football. A former Outland Trophy winner and consensus All-American guard at the University of Nebraska, he played for the Cornhuskers from 1989-92 and is one of only 16 players in school history to have his jersey retired. In 1999 Shields was selected to the Walter Camp Foundation College Football All-Century Team and in 2011 was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Shields was a third-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1993 NFL Draft, where he would never miss a game in 14 seasons, starting 231 consecutive games at right guard. He went to the Pro Bowl every year from 1995 to 2006, a Chiefs team record of 12 appearances, and in 2015 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In 2003 Shields was the recipient of the NFL’s prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his work with The “Will to Succeed” Foundation, the charitable organization he started in 1993. The foundation has raised millions of dollars and helped over 100,000 individuals since its inception, guiding and inspiring the lives of those less fortunate by providing financial, educational and other everyday resources.

Joe Taylor built a remarkable 41-year career in coaching, 30 years as a head coach. He is currently the Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics and Community Wellness at Virginia Union University where he has worked since 2013. During his tenure in Richmond, the school has captured 15 divisional, conference and regional championships and honored over 500 student-athletes for GPAs over 3.0.

As a head coach his teams won four Black college national championships, 10 conference titles and made 10 playoff appearances. A legend in college football, Taylor posted a lifetime win-loss record of 233-96-4 and ranks third in career victories in HBCU history. Taylor was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019 and the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2020. He has also served as president of the American Football Coaches Association.

Prior to taking over at athletics director at Virginia Union, Taylor served as the head football coach at Howard University in 1983, Virginia Union from 1984 to 1991, Hampton University from 1992 to 2007, and Florida A&M University from 2008 to 2012. Taylor led the Hampton Pirates to five black college football national championships (1994, 1997, 2004, 2005, and 2006) and eight conference titles.

Taylor graduated from Western Illinois University in 1972 and played offensive guard for the Leathernecks. He began his coaching career at H.D. Woodson High School in his hometown of Washington D.C.

Gary Barta was appointed to the CFP selection committee in January 2019 and named chair in January 2020. He has served as the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics at the University of Iowa since August 2006.

He is a member of Iowa’s President’s Cabinet, comprised of vice presidents and other campus leaders that provide counsel to the university’s president. He remains active at the conference and national level as a member of the NCAA Division I Council. He is also regularly involved in NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics) and LEAD1 (formerly known as the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association). He will enter his third year on the CFP selection committee, his second as chair.

Prior to arriving at Iowa, he served as athletics director at the University of Wyoming from 2003-06. Prior to that he served for seven years as senior associate athletics director at the University of Washington. He began his collegiate athletics career at North Dakota State as associate director of athletics development, then spent six years as director of athletics development and external relations at the University of Northern Iowa.

Barta earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication and broadcast journalism from North Dakota State in 1987. He was an option quarterback for Bison football squads that won the Division II NCAA National Championship in 1983, 1985 and 1986.

The CFP selection committee is responsible for selecting the top four teams in the playoff and assigning them to semifinal games as well as ranking the other top 25 teams. The committee meets in-person beginning late in the football season and produces a ranking of the top 25 teams each week leading up to its final selections. For more information on the selection committee, visit www.collegefootballplayoff.com.

Photo courtesy: Michael Reaves.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com