UK women’s basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell and his wife, Jenna, have pledged $1 million over the next 10 years to the athletics department.
The announcement was confirmed by UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart on Friday.
The donation will provide UK Athletics $100,000 per year over the next 10 years to be used for a variety of capital projects, including updates and renovations for football.
“Matthew has said to me on multiple occasions how much UK and the city of Lexington mean to him and how it’s the perfect spot for his wife, Jenna, and his children,” Barnhart said. “His ability to grow our women’s basketball program into one of the top programs in the country has given him a platform to impact others in a variety of ways. One of those ways is with a philanthropic heart in many areas of our community. He and Jenna wanted to show their appreciation to other sports program in our athletic department by supporting our capital growth. This gift will allow us to support and grow the things we are trying to do in our football program, which at the end of the day gives support to all of our student-athletes and teams at Kentucky.
“I want people to know and understand what special, special people Matthew and Jenna are to this community. I’m very thankful for their generosity, team approach and long-term vision to this athletics department and this university.”
The donation is the largest ever given by a UK athletics employee to the athletics department.
“We’ve been blessed by God to have this opportunity at UK,” Mitchell said. “We are still sometimes in disbelief that we are this fortunate. We care so much about this university and a day doesn’t go by that we aren’t grateful. We have been financially blessed beyond our wildest dreams since we’ve taken this job. We wouldn’t be in this position today without the opportunity afforded us by Dr. Lee Todd, Jr., Dr. Eli Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart. My wish is that this money will benefit UK Athletics because we’re all one family. I have complete confidence in the leadership and I told Mr. Barnhart to use where it’s needed most.”
Mitchell is UK’s all-time winningest coach with a 170-71 overall record in just seven seasons at the helm. Year after year he assembles teams that are synonymous with winning on and off the court.
In the last five seasons, UK has advanced to a school-record five consecutive NCAA tournaments, including three Elite Eight and four Sweet 16 appearances. Kentucky is one of just seven schools to make it to the Sweet 16 in at least four of the last five seasons, joining Baylor, UConn, Duke, Notre Dame, Stanford and Tennessee.