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The Big Blue Nation is invited to Mark Pope's introductory press conference

On3 imageby:Tyler Thompson04/12/24

MrsTylerKSR

It’s been a long few years for the Big Blue Nation. Athletics director Mitch Barnhart hopes this is the moment fans can come together behind one of their own. In an interview on Kentucky Sports Radio, Barnhart invited fans to Mark Pope‘s introductory press conference at Rupp Arena. It will be held Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET. Admission is free and doors will open at 3:30 p.m.

Limited parking on High Street will be available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, limited concession options will be open (keep in mind Rupp is a cashless entity). Fans can enter via the main entrance of Rupp Arena off of High Street. Programming will start at approximately 4:30 p.m. ET with Tom Leach serving as moderator. You can watch on SEC Network+ or UKAthletics.com or listen on KSR affiliates, including 630 WLAP. Matt Jones will also do a “postgame” call-in show from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

In his interview on KSR, Barnhart shared his vision for the event. It includes a spotlight on the banners at Rupp Arena and several former players in attendance, including Pope’s teammates from the 1996 national championship team, of which he was captain.

“I don’t know that you can ever describe what it feels like to put the ‘C’ on a shirt and captain a group of guys to a championship,” Barnhart said. “We’re gonna roll out at Rupp Arena and we’re gonna have a spotlight on the banners that represent this place. There are very few people who can stand on a podium and say they were part of that and they captained the team and now they’re ready to lead the ship.”

Barnhart acknowledged the tension in the fanbase over the past few years. He believes Pope is the one to bring BBN back together.

“This is our time to not bicker. We’ve been bickering a while about what we should do, not do. It’s time to say, this is our guy. He’s one of ours. And it is time to roll in, get behind this guy and let’s go win something together and let’s make sure that we have a heartbeat of what’s on the front of that jersey the right way.

“This guy can do it. He’s got an unbelievable passion for this program. He’s got an intelligence about the game and he is absolutely one of the most positive people I’ve ever been around and the players, they’re going to be at that presser, who have come out [to support him]. They believe in him.”

“I don’t ever want to cast away the opportunity to say, ‘You know what? Ours aren’t good enough to go lead our program.’ They are. And this guy is great enough to lead our program. And he is and we can go win championships and we will.”

Boom. I never thought we’d see Mitch Barnhart drop a mic but he did. Now it’s time for Pope to do the same. See you at Rupp on Sunday, BBN?

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2024-05-23