Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart announced in a letter posted on the university's website that head coach Joker Phillips will not return next season.
“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,” Barnhart wrote. “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.”
Phillips, who was an assistant at Kentucky from 1988-1996 as well as from 2004-2009, became the head coach in 2010. However, he could not bring stability to the program, as the Wildcats went just 12-23 during his two-plus seasons. The 'Cats are 1-9 this year and 0-7 in SEC play, and they are coming off of a 40-0 home loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Phillips will finish out the season, and a search for a new coach has begun.
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