The Mitch Barnhart tree of athletics directors is spreading branches far and wide across America.
Boise State, home of the blue football turf, announced Thursday that Barnhart assistant Mark Coyle will become the Idaho university's new athletics director.
Coyle joins a list of former Barnhart associates-turned-athletics directors that also includes Greg Byrne at Arizona, Scott Stricklin at Mississippi State and Rob Mullens at Oregon.
"I'm incredibly excited for Mark and his family," Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said in a release. "Mark has been a great asset to the University of Kentucky over the last seven years and I'm happy that he's getting this opportunity. The work he's done in terms of facilities and donor relationships has been tremendous. Boise State made a great choice and he'll be missed by the Wildcat family. Mark is ready and capable to lead a Division I program. We wish him, Krystan, Grace, Nicholas and Benjamin nothing but the best."
Coyle wore a tie of blue and orange — the school colors — and as he and his wife Krystan put on caps following the announcement, he said "it might take a while" to get used to the orange.
Coyle replaces longtime Boise State athletics director Gene Bleymaier, who was fired in August in the wake of NCAA violations in the football program and other sports. In September, the NCAA announced penalties that docked Boise State nine football scholarships over a three-year period and put the athletics department on a three-year probation.
Coyle, Kentucky's deputy director of athletics, has been with the Wildcats since 2005, when he was hired away from Minnesota to serve as the athletics department's chief fundraiser, replacing Byrne.
"Mark brings senior-level experience from two nationally recognized programs, and we believe he is the ideal choice," Boise State University President Bob Kustra said. "Mark is a rising star in this profession. He will bring best practices from his school and conference experience, both Big 10 and Southeastern, to the business of running an athletic department in these very complicated times."