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.