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Freddie Maggard and Jason Dickerson are both pleased with the way athletic director Mitch Barnhart went about hiring Mark Stoops as the new University of Kentucky football coach. While Stoops acknowledged during his introductory press conference that he reached out to Barnhart first, there is little doubt that the search was Barnhart's.
“The military saying is 'when you're in charge, be in charge,'” said Maggard, who works in public relations and outreach for the National Guard. “Mr. Barnhart applied that in his search. This was his call, he went about business as he saw fitting in this situation. I respect and admire that. He didn't listen to outside noise and got it done, and did it right.”
It is now common knowledge that Barnhart sought the help of Tim Couch, considered by most the greatest quarterback to ever play in Lexington and now a college football analyst for Fox Sports. Both of the former Wildcats contacted for this story felt that was a great move by Barnhart.
“Tim Couch gives someone who knows the game and is successful,” Dickerson said. “He knows the fans here. If Tim Couch says this is a good hire, some fans will come around.”
Maggard agreed. “Tim's a Leslie County guy, and a UK man,” he said. “He loves the university. I'm very proud of Tim, he's done well for himself and the Commonwealth. Having a player's perspective especially one like Tim that is also connected to college football through broadcasting gave Mitch a huge assist.”