Florida hires former Kentucky coach Joker Phillips

It didn’t take Joker Phillips long to find another job.

The former Kentucky head coach landed at No. 4 Florida on

Monday, joining the Gators as receivers coach and recruiting


Florida coach Will Muschamp said Phillips will begin work


”His background as a head coach and the number of years he has

coached wide receivers will be a tremendous asset to our coaching

staff and players,” Muschamp said in a statement. ”Joker is

obviously very familiar with the Southeastern Conference and has

always done a great job in recruiting. Obviously, I had a number of

experiences with Joker both on and off the field, as our paths have

crossed often, but I’ve been really impressed with Joker Phillips

as a man during this hiring process.”

Kentucky fired Phillips on Nov. 4. He went 13-24 in three

seasons at Kentucky, including 0-8 in SEC play this year.

Phillips played at Kentucky (1981-84) and was on the football

staff from 1988 to 1996. He returned to his alma mater as offensive

coordinator in 2003, and then became the second black coach in SEC

history in 2010.

His resume also includes stops at South Carolina (2002), Notre

Dame (2001), Minnesota (1999-2000) and Cincinnati (1997-98). He

coached receivers at each of those schools, working with Ron

Johnson, Javin Hunter, David Givens, Keenan Burton, Steve Johnson,

Dicky Lyons, Jr. and Derek Abney.

”I’m thrilled to become part of the Gator family,” Phillips

said in a statement. ”I’m looking forward to the opportunity to

compete and win at the highest level. I believe in coach Muschamp’s

philosophy, and what he has done in his short time here at Florida

is phenomenal. I’m looking forward to contributing to the long-term

vision that he has for this program. In addition, it will be very

rewarding to be involved in the hands-on development of the players

I will coach.”

Former receivers coach Aubrey Hill left Florida in early August

amid an NCAA investigation that involved his coaching tenure at

Miami. Muschamp promoted graduate assistant Bush Hamdan to

receivers coach, but said last week that he planned to hire someone

to fill the position full time.

The Gators (11-1) surely need some help, too.

Tight end Jordan Reed leads Florida with 44 receptions for 552

yards. Receivers Quinton Dunbar (31-306, 4 TDs) and Frankie Hammond

Jr. (20-273, 3 TDs) have been mostly inconsistent, while Andre

Debose and Latroy Pittman have been non-factors.