Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

November 4, 2012

Kentucky fires football coach Joker Phillips

LEXINGTON — Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips has been saying lately in response to questions about his future that if he was going to be fired someone would have said something to him by now.

The official word came on Sunday.

"We, as coaches, are measured on results," Phillips said in a statement. "We didn't get the results we had worked and hoped for, therefore change is needed. In my current 10-year stay at Kentucky, we've had some memorable moments as an assistant, coordinator and head coach. We've had the opportunity to coach some fine young men and I am grateful to have had the privilege of watching them grow as players, as students and as people."

Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart announced Phillips' dismissal in an open letter on the athletic department's web site.

The Wildcats lost their eighth straight game on Saturday, a 40-0 home loss to Vanderbilt. It was their worst loss to the Commodores in 96 years.

The 49-year-old Phillips is 12-23 overall in three seasons at Kentucky. He will finish this season.

Barnhart says the school will begin a nationwide search for a new coach immediately.

The Wildcats (1-9, 0-7 Southeastern Conference) went to a bowl game two years ago but have gotten worse each season since. Kentucky is off this week, and then closes the season with games against Samford and Tennessee.

"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," Barnhart said in the letter. "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."

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