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Joker Phillips has been fired, per open letter from Mitch Barnhart

Mitch Barnhart released an open letter to Big Blue Nation in which he let it be known that head football coach Joker Phillips has been fired. According to the letter, “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. Joker Phillips has carried the banner for the Blue and White with honor and pride. 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 UK, the #BBN and the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

DeWayne Peevy says there will be no press conference and there are not any current plans for one at all. 

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

83 Comments for Joker Phillips has been fired, per open letter from Mitch Barnhart



  1. MHFaulkner
    3:34 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Finally.



  2. UKBIgDaddy
    3:34 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    “Bout Time!”



  3. JP Wilson
    3:34 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    A year too late, but….a great opportunity to get someone great. I say go all in on Tressel. All he does is win.



  4. TJohnson
    3:35 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Tough to hear that. Joker was a really good guy, but bring on Kirby Smart!!!



  5. Go Football
    3:35 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Thank you. So much. Only one to go.



  6. Head Bussa
    3:35 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally!!!!!!!!!!



  7. Mike
    3:35 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    That moment you have been hoping and anticipating for yet you still feel empty and underwhelmed.



  8. James
    3:36 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Right time for this move. but let’s all show respect for Joker. It didn’t work out, but the man is a wildcat through and through, and a good person to boot. It’s a shame he couldn’t make it work.



  9. Klue
    3:37 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Thank you Joker for your time here! Wish it could have worked out, i don’t celebrate any man losing his job, but its time to move forward! Go cats!

    Gruden, Smart, mangini, herm edwards! Come on down. Do the right thing mitch and make somebody like this one of the highest paid coaches in the country like you said youre capable and not afraid of doing. As long as its not fulmer or petrino



  10. CatGrad7072
    3:39 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Richard P, get screwed!



  11. The Big Spoon
    3:39 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Time to get the Tressel Train rollin!



  12. Mike
    3:39 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    @10 when will the world be rid of people like you? I hope you’re just being ironic.



  13. Makers Man
    3:39 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    #8 got it right. Joker has been 1st class. Results were not acceptable, so a change was needed. For those wishing for Tressel, please stop. The man is a known cheater. I have no desire for that at UK.



  14. Scott
    3:39 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    10- Wow, you ignorant ass. why don’t you go back to 1960



  15. Robman181
    3:39 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Happy but so sad I want to cry at same time. Joker is a great Kentuckian and I hope everyone shows up and sends him out with class and the loud ovation he deserves. Thank you Joker for all you’ve done for BBN.



  16. Makers Man
    3:40 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Someone please moderate #10 on out of here asap.



  17. FrigFullofBeer
    3:40 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Please Barnhart make a great hire… Cause if NOT Kentucky football will be going through same thing in 3-5 years!!!!! Throw some money at really good coach BBN is begging you and do all needed possible for UK football to be a success… Heres looking at you Kirby Smart!!!!!



  18. new coach
    3:40 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I’m holding my own press conference to fire Mitch for calling bbn racist and some of us not true fans. Eat me Barnfart



  19. Yab
    3:40 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Let’s hope the good lord told him to hire Petrino while he was praying.



  20. Woww
    3:41 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is okay. Can’t stand Randy Sanders. He was the downfall!



  21. ukbabydoc
    3:41 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Ok, that is good news. Thank you very much Joker, I know you tried hard. Now, if Barnfart could find the cajones to apologize to the fans….. Oh yea he won’t we are stupid automatons with checkbooks.

    One man down, keep the fire lit so the fool AD goes with him!!



  22. CatGrad7072
    3:41 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Not me, the real #10 got deleted.



  23. SevenT
    3:41 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I hate to see this but it had to happen. Joker is a class act and a true Kentucky man. I wish him the best!



  24. Bird
    3:41 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is a very good man, but it was time for a change. Just hope Mitch brings in someone who can get things changed around.



  25. Michael E
    3:42 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    ATTENDANCE: 44,902



  26. Richard P
    3:44 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Please delete #10! CatGrad7072 that kind of talk doesn’t belong here!



  27. JL
    3:44 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    It sad to see anyone fired. Now isn’t the time to dwell on his failure to keep things from declining, but it’s time to get behind the players who will feel responsible for Joker’s termination.

    When you bring on folks who haven’t really succeeded in the past, and I’m thinking Minter here, you’re setting yourself up for failure.



  28. Jimmy
    3:44 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I do agree it was bad, but it does not matter who they bring in, there not going
    to win here. Kentucky will have a ok team once every what 8 to 10 years, they can’t get the players to compete in this league, god damn theyhttp://bikerace.me/zVHB8g should know this shit already. We’re happy we fired a coach who was the only one who beat Tennessee, who cares we won’t beet em for another 25, this football team will be bad no matter who the coach is.



  29. g-unit
    3:44 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    3&4 Smart isn’t coming anywhere close to UK and neither is Tresses. Petrino won’t either. UK has 4 choices :

    1- Mark Helfrich
    2- Sonny Dykes
    3- Cutcliffe
    4- Neal Brown



  30. Jim Andrews
    3:45 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Now, Mitch go out there with an open checkbook and get us a great coach. Dont be stingy.



  31. St. Augustine Cat Fan
    3:45 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    # 10 and # 15, make it 1860 !



  32. Matt Jones, MIA
    3:46 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    No disrespect to Ally or Will, but where the hell is Matt Jones???



  33. El Guapo
    3:47 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    BLAT!



  34. BigBerry777
    3:47 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I hope we go after Frank Solich from Ohio University.



  35. Sammydog
    3:49 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Now that the boom has dropped on Joker I can’t wait for all the fans to start ragging on Mitch to go after Saban by offering him more $$$ than Alabama. It seems most fans think money is all it takes to attract a “big name” to UK football. If only it were that easy.



  36. STEVE!
    3:50 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Typical that Barnhart announces this with a letter and won’t face the fans or media to take questions or discuss the situation. It also makes me nervous that he makes it a point to say the hire will be managed internally. Seems like some top secret shenanigans going on that he – again – doesn’t want to explain or discuss with the public.



  37. 3 fan
    3:50 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Helfrich Helfrich Helfrich. Not sorry for Joker he makes 3.4 million gettin fired



  38. Computer Blue
    3:50 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Guess Mitch has a personal agenda against Joker.



  39. Bob Sugar
    3:50 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    The man was a drain on the program and he has been well paid. He needs to get himself on outta town with his millions and never return. Now it’s time for a new coach and a new AD. Barnhart has cost the University millions with his bad hires, lack of ticket sales, and mismanagement. If he were in private business or politics he would been gone long ago.



  40. Makers Man
    3:51 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I’m liking that Solich idea.
    Petrino = no thank you



  41. Rixter
    3:53 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Well said, # 7. It’s sadness and elation all at once.



  42. Iucansukabigblue....
    3:53 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Sad and hopeful equals a strange feeling. No matter what anyone writes. This is sad for the real fans no matter what anyone thinks we never wanted Joker to fail. He is and was a Wildcat before I was even born. I hope the crazy posters can show him the respect he deserves. Thank you Joker for giving it all you had. That is all you can ever do in life.

    With a heavy heart. Good luck whatever you do Joker. Go Big Blue.



  43. barn
    3:58 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    too bad. it would have been great having a UK guy right the football program and making us competitive in the sec, but it didn’t happen. maybe someone, someday.



  44. Rixter
    3:58 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    #32, I think Matt gets the occasional day off.



  45. KMS35
    3:58 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Are you kidding? Fire Mitch? Practically every competitive sport at UK is excelling except for football. Joker Phillips wasn’t even really Mitch’s hire. He signed the last line of the piece of paper but it was all Rich Brooks that put that into motion. Barnhart has done an incredible job as AD so far and he knows that he has to get this one right to put butts back into seats at Commonwealth. I have total faith that its exactly what he’s going to do.



  46. Kyfootball
    4:00 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Better hire a coach before TN fires Dooley



  47. Flip
    4:00 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    29- Mitch said in his letter that he wants to compete for SEC Championships. That pretty much excludes all of the slugs you named in your 1-4 list.



  48. TJJohnson
    4:02 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    @ 47 so lets bring on Kirby Smart or Todd Granthm SEC 2013 champs! or runner up



  49. Ukalum
    4:02 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    It only took two losing seasons. A half dozen or so blow outs. Losing to a sun belt team. Dropping below a .500 overall record for the first time in 100 years, and being shutout in commonwealth stadium by a private school that values academics more than athletics in front of a crowd that would’ve made rupp arena seem half empty. But you finally pulled the trigger. As far as joker is concerned he better stay near his phone cause if Barnhart doesn’t turn the ship around quickly we will have an AD opening that he could fill.



  50. Ukalum
    4:05 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Kirby smart will come to uk with a 2+ million dollar paycheck. Gus Malzahn wouldn’t be a bad hire he has Arkansas state competing in the sun belt conference after his first year.



  51. Ashland
    4:10 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    29/37) that’s the man we need. You all have the right idea . Helfrich is the guy!



  52. Cruser
    4:10 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Anybody got faith in Barnhart being able to lead the search to get a top tier FB coach?…I don’t!



  53. LMS
    4:13 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Wish we could afford Jon Gruden !!



  54. 84Cat
    4:16 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Yeah, I still haven’t heard an apology. No money from me until I do.



  55. old man
    4:16 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    So, Auburn, Tenn, Arkansas, and Kentucky will be looking for coaches after the season. How in the heck does UK pull in anyone good with 3 better programs in the SEC also looking for coaches? UK is 4th on the list just for SEC jobs!



  56. Dave
    4:18 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    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.



  57. ukhat
    4:20 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    In 2008, Dabo Swinney was not a house hold name. Now he is my favorite college football coach. He’s young, energetic, passionate, he can recruit, he knows alabama, south carolina, and georgia very well. I don’t care if it’s a big name or maybe one we are not familiar with. But please don’t get some sunbelt coach. A top notch assistant from SEC/BIG 10 country is what we need. Swinney would only leave Clemson for Alabama, and definitely never UK. But get somebody with his enthusiasm. And like Swinney, get somebody who has proven that they can beat Spurrier and Richt, etc.

    Kirby Smart, Dan Mullen, Todd Grantham, Gus Malzahn, Brent Venables, Luke Fickell



  58. jarshoe
    3:28 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Have been hearing for some time that there is a push by board members for Phil Fulmer. They are hiring internally, so he’s got a short list of coaches that have probably expressed mutual interest.



  59. Flip
    3:32 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    48 – Petrino is the best option for UK.



  60. old_school
    3:43 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Today’s the day everyone simply dreams of who will next coach on the sidelines. My vote would go to Tony Dungy – a proven winner, a man with class, character and integrity – and he would emphasize turning players into quality young men.



  61. Badams
    3:48 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    People dont Mitch show their ignorance. Do you not recall righting the wrong that was Billy G with Cal? Has that not worked out or something? Mitch is a great AD, he knows he has to get a good coach, he isnt dumb. Some of you really make me wanns smack you.



  62. jarshoe
    3:52 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I think Joker potentially sitting out the final two games indicates that Tressel is definitely on the short list. Hire him now and he can sit out two games of his 5-game suspension this season.



  63. Badams
    3:52 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t like Mitch*



  64. Sydney42
    3:59 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve heard from some internal staff and athletics officials that Phil Fulmer is a top candidate…..Mitch has known the man for years….worked with him at Tennessee….and he is 62 and won’t be looking for a bigger job or be leaving us for a bigger school…..Mitch loves to hire old people….i.e. Rich Brooks



  65. Holler Baller
    4:01 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Hire Mike Holcomb! If he can win in Jackson he can win in Lexington!!!



  66. Michael
    4:01 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I think Joker is OK I guess as a guy. But you try to sell me on how much he loves this university and week after week drove it into the abyss of college football? Barnhardt should have done this at least 3 weeks ago before the program and university’s football reputation were decimated like it is currently.



  67. Bigbluestorm
    4:01 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    They better hire the best defensive cord out there for the head coaching job, we always lack defense, Randy Sanders was the prob with our offense, Joker did a better job as off cord.



  68. jarshoe
    4:04 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve also been hearing Fulmer for quite some time. I do think that’s the direction we’ll ultimately go. However, if you’re going to do that, why not let Joker coach out the season?



  69. SLEEPY
    4:04 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Chad Morris(Clem,OC), Sonny Dykes(LA TECH,HC), Kirby Smart(BAMA,DC), Mark Helfrich(ORE,OC), Mike Leach(WashSt.,HC), Jim Tressel(OSU,HC), Frank Wilson(LSU,Recruit Corr)????, Hal Mumme(Former UK HC)????. Any would be a great choice!



  70. Lyan Remmond
    4:07 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    A weight has been lifted, but it appears Mitch ia scared…If you believe in God you have no fear. He seems to be weak, don’t take an AD job if you got no balls. The world is full of pussies Be A Man. Mitch.Pardon my French



  71. HalMummeFanClub
    4:18 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Claude Bassett…..he would be great!! LOL



  72. BNGinLEX
    4:25 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I hate seeing anyone loosing their job, but this had to be done.

    Just throwing this out there because I have not seen this scenario mentioned before. Just something that would be interesting to see what others think.

    What about Mike Tomlin? I know it would be a far stretch, but given the friendship between he and Coach Cal, I think there is a slim possibility of something playing out there. I don’t know if Tomlin would step to the college ranks, especially with the success he is having with the Steelers, but it would be a great hire in my mind and is something I could see happening.



  73. Nate HIGGERS
    4:26 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    GIT EM OUUUUUUUT!!!!!!!



  74. FakeRealDrPhilStihl
    4:27 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    If Bitch hires Philip Fulmer I will not wstch football til he’s gone…and if he actually thinks that’s a good hire ….THE BITCH HAS TO GO…



  75. SLEEPY
    4:30 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Tomlin??? You’re CRAZY!!! Although it would be awesome to have him!



  76. Michael
    4:31 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Mike Tomlin? Is that serious? You know he coaches in the NFL right?



  77. Kevin C.
    4:38 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t feel bad for Phillips; he will be paid $2.55 million over the remaining two years of his contract. This is BCG all over again….



  78. fatkidineastky
    4:44 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I am tired of this bullcrap..”fine man” “class act”….if he were these things he would not be out in the community flaunting his piece of a** on the side Mary Jo Perino. that is classLESS and not what is representative of what student athletes need to be shown from someone leading and supposedly giving them life lessons. So bring on a new coach and staff and turn this around for the fans instead of the prima donnas in administration and spend th emoney for the BBN and not each other.



  79. Big Whoop
    5:06 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I am surprised. This decision was sorely needed. We need new blood and hopefully we will get a coach who actually coaches DURING a game instead of taking notes. Getting rid of Randy Sanders and the Nuclear dude is an added bonus.



  80. Linda Taylor
    5:07 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Those of you wondering where Matt is (he did post the first Joker fired post just after 3), he said on his show that he would be emceeing the dinner banquet the UK Athletic Dept. is hosting for the Transy basketball team today. That is probably where Barnhart is also.



  81. FakeRealDrPhilStihl
    5:12 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    WE TRUE FANS DON’T NEED A press conference we see your cowardice a mile away…Everyone wave goodbye to Mitch the Bitch as he realizes too late..way too, about a year, late for most fans, that is his job to speak as the director of this university, THAT’S YOUR JOB…IT’S IN THE DESCRIPTION..



  82. BNGinLEX
    7:52 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I know the Mike Tomlin idea is a super far reach and we can all say with certainty that it won’t happen.

    However, there is this guy whose name has been thrown around as being a potential coach for UK who was also an NFL coach in 2007 and left before the season ended for a college level job. Clearly different circumstances but certainly not unprecedented.

    I was just looking at this from a different and unique angle. However, I have my realistic thoughts of who I would like to see as head coach and none of them are currently in the NFL.



  83. Catlogic15
    9:30 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Mike Tomlin coaches the Pittsburgh Steelers last I heard. Duh.