Jim Sterk, Mitch Barnhart named to Division I Men's Basketball Committee
INDIANAPOLIS--- Two recent recipients of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics AD of the Year award have been appointed to the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. Jim Sterk, the director of athletics at San Diego State University and one of this year’s four winners for the NACDA award, and 2014-15 winner Mitch Barnhart, the athletics director at the University of Kentucky, will begin their five-year terms Sept. 1.
The duo will replace current chair Joseph R. Castiglione, the director of athletics at the University of Oklahoma, and Joe Alleva, the director of athletics at Louisiana State University, whose terms expire this summer.
Sterk is the second person from San Diego State to be on the committee, following in the footsteps of Ken Karr, who was a member for the 1976-80 tournaments. Barnhart is the third person to represent Kentucky; former chairs Bernie Shively (1959-66) and C.M. Newton (1992-99) also served on the committee.
Sterk is a 1980 graduate of Western Washington University, where he was a standout football player and a member of the basketball team. Like Barnhart, Sterk earned a Master’s degree from Ohio University. He held positions at the University of North Carolina, the University of Maine, Seattle Pacific University and Tulane University before being named director of athletics at Portland State University in 1995. Sterk was named the director of athletics at Washington State University in 2000 before taking the same position at San Diego State in February 2010.
Since the 2011-12 academic year, San Diego State has won 35 conference championships in team sports and over the past six seasons the Aztecs have the third-best combined winning percentage nationally for men’s basketball and football, winning better than 75 percent of their contests. During that period, the school has also set records for fundraising and for the number of scholar-athletes at the school.
During Sterk’s last three years at Washington State, the Cougars earned bids to the NCAA tournament as a No. 3 seed in 2007 and as a No. 4 seed in 2008, when they advanced to the Sweet 16. Since his arrival to San Diego State, the Aztecs have played in six out of seven NCAA tournaments, advancing to the round of 32 in 2013 and 2015, and making it to the Sweet 16 in 2011 and 2014.
“I am very proud to represent San Diego State University and the Mountain West Conference on this esteemed committee,” said Sterk. “The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is one of the great events in all of sports and this committee is tasked with the responsibility of managing this remarkable event for the membership. It is an honor to serve in this capacity. I look forward to working with the other members of the committee to build on the success of this prestigious event.”
A 1981 graduate of Ottawa University in Kansas, Barnhart held positions in athletics administration at San Diego State, the University of Oregon, Southern Methodist University and the University of Tennessee before becoming the athletics director at Oregon State University in 1998. In 2002, he was selected to lead the athletics department at Kentucky, where he has guided the Wildcats to unprecedented success athletically, academically and in the community.
Kentucky has finished in the top 25 of the Directors’ Cup standings each of the past three seasons, including a school-best 11th-place finish in the 2013-14 national all sports standings. Kentucky student-athletes have an active streak of six semesters with at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average while contributing 4,000 hours annually in community service.
In Barnhart’s 14 years at Kentucky, the Wildcats have played in 12 NCAA tournaments, reaching four Final Fours and winning the 2012 national championship to help secure the school’s spot as the winningest basketball program in NCAA history.
Kentucky and San Diego State are two of the top 10 winningest college basketball teams this decade and the two schools have combined to participate in 40 NCAA tournament games since 2010.
“This opportunity to serve is a tremendous honor and I am humbled to receive it,” said Barnhart. “The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee is tasked with setting the field for one of the greatest events in all of sports and I am eager to contribute to that process. I respect my new fellow committee members a great deal and look forward to working with them, as well as (NCAA vice president of men’s basketball championships) Dan Gavitt.”
The committee will be chaired in 2016-17 by Mark Hollis, the director of athletics at Michigan State University. Along with Barnhart and Sterk, other committee members include Janet Cone, the director of athletics at the University of North Carolina Asheville; Tom Holmoe, the director of athletics at Brigham Young University; Bernard Muir, the director of athletics at Stanford University; Bruce Rasmussen, the director of athletics at Creighton University; Peter Roby, the director of athletics at Northeastern University; Jim Schaus, the director of athletics at Ohio University; and Kevin White, the director of athletics at Duke University.