After much conversation, evaluation and prayer, I have determined that it is in the best interest of our athletics program to make a change in our football coaching staff at the conclusion of the season. I do so with a heavy heart for a man who has served his alma mater for almost 22 years as a player and a coach. Joker Phillips has carried the banner for the Blue and White with honor and pride. I have enjoyed working alongside him and am thankful for his friendship for the last decade. His concern for the entire program, his work and teaching of young people, his humanitarian work, and the friendship we all enjoy with him will long surpass the scoreboard. I want to thank him for all of those things on behalf of Kentucky.
The search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be managed internally. I understand the challenge and significance of finding a new leader for our football program. It will be done with great concern for our student-athletes, students of the University of Kentucky, the Big Blue Nation and the citizens of the Commonwealth. Kentucky Football needs to be and will be a championship contender in the SEC.
Hopefully, Mitch Barnhart is serious about that last line and the Board of Trustees and the UKAA are on board as well.
UK has given much lip service to the idea of a real football program at UK. They’ve never lived up to the talk, though. If UK is to be serious about football, it must be committed to massive change. A whole new approach is needed and perhaps a whole new Board of Trustees will be necessary.
The entire culture must change for UK to become a championship contender in the SEC and the BCS.