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Joker speaks, says he is still part of Big Blue Nation

Joker Phillips talked to the media today for the first time since it was announced he won’t return in 2013 and he showed nothing but class, dignity, and appreciation for Big Blue Nation, as expected.

“I came here the first time as an 18-year-old kid,” he said of his time with the Kentucky football team. “This place turned me into a man the first time. This time it strengthened me.”

Joker said his plan for this season was to make it to 2013. That’s what he told his staff at the beginning of the year. 2013 is when he expected to see a huge improvement with the team, 2012 was his survival year. Unfortunately, his time as head coach at Kentucky was cut short, but he’ll continue to be a fan of the Wildcats.  He said he will continue to buy season tickets and he’ll root for whoever takes over. “I’m still part of BBN,” he said.  “We all have a hand in the success here.”

Phillips also thanked Mitch Barnhart for the opportunity and the support throughout his career. “I never asked for anything he said no to,” Joker said. “Not once.”

Say what you will about his coaching, but you have to respect the way Joker is handling his firing and all of the criticism he received over the past few months. We hope the fans show up on Nov. 17 to show their appreciation for what he’s done for Kentucky. It didn’t work out as head coach, but he bleeds blue just like us.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

51 Comments for Joker speaks, says he is still part of Big Blue Nation

  1. bigo
    1:27 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Class. He should be given the opportunity to continue working in some non_coaching capacity for Uk until he decides to maybe move on.

  2. first
    1:27 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Boo hoo joker

  3. UKChillfan
    1:32 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I still cannot understand why some “fans” cannot appreciate Joker’s love for Kentucky and the BBN. I will give them the fact that he wasn’t successful but how they can question his love and loyalty is beyond my comprehension.

  4. Alan Cutler's mustache
    1:33 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Joker could work in an admin role at UK, but we all know he is not done with coaching. Best of Luck to you, Joker.

  5. akljldjkl
    1:33 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is a genuine good guy. The change had to be made, but he’s a top-notch human being.

  6. Shane
    1:38 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Joker will be picked up by someone as an offensive coordinator. He did a really good job at UK in that role. I believe his biggest mistake was firing the long-time offensive line coach.

    I hope that Chuck Smith will be kept on staff in some capacity. If not, I hope Rockcastle County high school gives him a call 😉

  7. RealCatsFan
    1:40 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    It’s a shame that Joker didn’t get the benefit of having some HC experience at a smaller school before he took the UK job. Could have made the difference for him. I have to admit that I had a bad feeling about all of this when they announced him as the HCIW, but I really hoped that he would succeed. He faced his own perfect storm of a tough schedule and key injuries, but a lot of other things that went against the team have to fall on him. Tough to see for a guy who is true blue to the core. Maybe he should just be satisfied with hanging around the program in a lesser role, perhaps a recruiting coordinator or something along those lines. In any case, Joker will be fine – he is a millionaire, after all – we should all be so lucky!

  8. Ouch
    1:48 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Thank you Joker!!! Some peoples children!! If you cannot feel good towards this man than you have a huge problem, period !!! I promise you this, he doesnt feel the same way towards your sorry a#$ !! He’s all class!!!!

  9. DB11
    1:52 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I’ll be there, will you?

  10. Hmmmm
    1:52 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #8 voted for Obama.

  11. Bob Sugar
    1:55 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Good Riddance Joker you no good waste of money and time… This outpour of Joker love is pathetic. The man was a pathetic coach and ruined all of the momentum gained in the last few years. ALl because he played for Kentucky in the eighties and was a bad play calling OC before this latest failure. But I guess being a nice guy makes all this dissolve; no way.

  12. #Rise
    1:57 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    11) Some things are more important than winning football games. Stay Classy
    Romney 2012

  13. Youhavegottobekiddding
    1:57 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Class Act all the way !!!!!!!!!!!! Just wished it could have worked out.

  14. jimp
    1:59 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    The comment from #2 is just an example of a small percentage of our fans. It’s easy to show a lack of class when you can stay anonymous. They would never have the nerve to say something like that to Joker’s face. Even the ones who wanted Joker fired could at least show some respect now that it is done.

  15. kes
    1:59 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    10, so did i, whats your point?

  16. jtd
    2:00 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    3–I don’t know anyone that is questioning Joker’s love for UK. But plenty of people are questioning his ability to be head coach at UK. I wish him the best where ever he goes. He had offeres from several schools before Sunday, so he will be fine.

    6–I don’t think he was a very good OC either. I remember everyone complaining his entire tenure with the exception of 2007

  17. Axe Cop
    2:08 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Glad to hear this hasn’t been a messy breakup, so hopefully this makes pulling in the next coach a little bit easier.

    Member of a completely insane cult 2012

  18. Duke Sucks
    2:09 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I like Joker and he has been a great ambassador for UK. But in no way should he remain with the school. When the 130 teacher where laid off, they didn’t get the option to remain at anther position. Joker is a good man and has made himself into a millionaire by UK. It’s time for both parties to move on. Good luck to Joker in what ever he does next.

  19. rombomb
    2:15 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    15, how do you sleep at night you piece of s.h.i.t

  20. Axe Cop
    2:19 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    19. I voted for Obama too, and I sleep well at night, NEXT TO YOUR MOM.

  21. Darrel Hudson
    2:25 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    If peeing your pants and riding women is cool…. He’s James dean

  22. Yab
    2:27 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I truly hate to see one of our own fail, especially, Joker, he’s such an easy person to like.

  23. BBNinClearwaterFL
    2:27 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Didn’t like Joker as a coach but as a person he is extremely First Class!
    Romney 2012

  24. Not Hating, Just Stating
    2:27 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Show appreciation for what he’s done for Kentucky? Last time i checked, Kentucky was the laughing stock of college football. That’s what he’s done for Kentucky. Good riddance.

  25. Benny Hannah
    2:28 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Obama deserves four more years as well!!!
    Joker deserves at least 2-3 more years!!!
    Both the country and UK football team ARE in good shape or at least getting better!
    Unemployment levels at All time lows
    People making more money than ever!
    Cheap as heck gas prices
    Strong housing economy!
    He’s almost single handily stamped out the coal industry!!
    Obama should get 4 or 5 terms!!

  26. jpizzle
    2:33 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    21- “If… riding women is cool”? IF!?!

  27. jpizzle
    2:34 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    24- Newsflash- We have been “the laughing stock of college football” longer than Joker has drawn breath.

  28. Darrel Hudson
    2:35 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Hey bud I know you’ve seen some of the people who post comments here….. U never know.. It’s Election Day I was trying to be politically correct

  29. Funky Monkey
    2:35 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Everyone has always agreed Joker is a super good guy. Please. Why wouldn’t Joker love BBN? He is leaving BBN as a multi-millionaire from his alma mater that gave him his first and a fair shot at being a successful HC.

  30. bulldawg
    2:37 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    @ 20 first you admit voting 4 obama, then you crack a 6th grade “I sleep with your mom” joke. Ha ha so funny. Not. Based on your comments, u r exactly the kind of person I see voting for obama. I am a democrat but I did not vote for obama either time. Has nothing to do with race. I just thought and still think he is wishy washy and that he is more concerned about his name in the hisrory books than fixing our country. Anyone that will force something on you (insurance) and then name it after themselves (obamacare) is not doing things for the “right” reasons. Imo opinion joker is a great guy that should be embraced by the program in his time of need.

  31. DB11
    2:40 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I now understand why Matt hates these comment sections

  32. Bigd1983
    2:41 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    People that make asinine comments like #2 & #11 are the same sorry a$$’s that give the #BBN a bad name. Why don’t you two go to a D-1 university that plays in the hardest conference in the nation and see how well you do?? Joker may not have been a great head coach, but he is still a part of #BBN. He was before he started here and it’s obvious he will be for a long time to come. If all you have to do is [email protected] and complain, go hang out with the UofL fans. They seem to be on the same level as you anyway and the REAL UK fans don’t really want to hear your sh!t… Point blank, period!!

  33. Rockfield, KY
    2:49 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Joker was a terrible coach, a decent recruiter, and a good representative for the program. I’m very impressed by how he’s handled the firing and his loyalty to the university. However, anyone who is still holding on to the “good guy” thing should step back if you’re the same people who talk poorly of Rick Pitino and Bobby Petrino for their affairs. Joker has plenty of skeletons in that closet and I’m not just talking about MJP.

  34. Joe
    2:53 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Quit with all the love before Mitch changes his mind…

  35. Not Hating, Just Stating
    2:55 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    27. You forget we actually had a solid program and some respect under Brooks. Joker was a complete failure and made us a laughing stock again. So go shove your newsflash up your a s s moron.

  36. KClub85
    3:03 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is a great person and obviously handled it with class… BUT, he is getting $2 MILLION to walk away and he can still coach down the road. The man is set for life just like all who achieve head coaching status in the SEC. Let’s be real for a moment… ordinary people cannot fail at their job then walk away with a $2 MILLION parting gift. He knows he’s blessed.

  37. Eric
    3:05 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    11. Is just arrogant and needs to realize saying that makes the whole university and its fan base look bad

  38. kes
    3:07 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    19 ANYTIME MF tell me a time and place.

  39. johnblinkybolton
    3:08 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    10) You must be who Mitch was talking about with their “own agendas”

  40. Bob Loblaw
    3:11 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    I am one of those fans who are happy to see Joker go, but I believe we should fill the stands for the last game, to show support. The fans accomplished what they needed to do and it’s now time to show our support for the team.

  41. DCCat
    3:13 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Good god people! Some of the BBN are pathetic. Joker was clearly not a success as a HC. He’s been fired. That does not make him a bad human being or change the fact that he is a native son who gave the university, its fans and players a great deal of himself and all his passion. Beyond that, showing him support and wishing him well HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS!!!! Voting for President Obama, which I definitely did not do, has no bearing on respecting the person even while being tankful that the coach is done.

    I love UK athletics even from DC. I’ll stand up and support the teams and defend against detractors (such as the idiots on the Washington Post site calling UK “gap tooth U”). But, it would serve the impossible-to-please, heartless, diplomatically deaf minority right if some great coach came along and said “with that fan base, No Thanks, I’ll look elsewhere”. Do any of you bashers actually believe you are helping the program or that prospects/candidates don’t peruse this stuff?!

  42. Chad
    3:14 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    People do forget he did break a losing streak with UT. Good Luck Joker!! Go Big Blue!!!!

  43. Bradley
    3:19 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Ditch Mitch. He’s 100% to blame for this. It’s not Jokers fault he accepted a job he wasn’t ready for. It’s the incompetent smug d-bag that hired him that’s to blame.

  44. Rommney in 2012
    3:47 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #39 Are you saying everybody who didn’t vote for Obama is a racist. By say such a comment makes you a raciest. Racism is wrong and goes both ways I thought America and Kentucky had grown above this kinda comments. We are better then this.

  45. Bluehaz
    3:57 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Ditch the comment section, is making us look like the ignorant Ky hillbillys that most of the world perceive us to be.

  46. Rommney in 2012
    4:01 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #45 So if you aren’t for Obama you are a hillbilly? Please explain!

  47. Tigercat
    4:12 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is a nice guy, who loved UK, and this was his destination job. He just wasn’t a good HC, and probably should not have been hired for the job without HC experience. With that said, he leaves a rich man. I continue to not understand his or Mitch’s reasoning about rebuilding. Joker recruited these guys. What did Brooks do wrong?

  48. Duke Sucks
    4:33 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    Brooks didn’t do anything wrong. The rebuilding was just a term they where using to hide their mistakes. Joker and Barnhart where hoping we would win some games to save Jokers job and try to sell the rebuilding theme. Joker is a class man, but he was doomed after changing the coaching staff with a negative result.
    Joker making Newton the starter without opening up the job for compition with Moss made his bed. He could never get above Newtons failure. Moss might not have been the answer but not allowing him to compete for the job set Joker up to be second guessed. I find it hard to believe that both 5 star QBs where a bust.

    4:34 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    46 – no but you share the same views as hillbillies

  50. Really
    5:04 pm November 6, 2012 Permalink

    #49 that is one of the most raciest, ellitest comments I have ever seen. People like you sicken me.

  51. BagOverHead
    11:03 am November 7, 2012 Permalink

    I hope the door smacks Choker in the azz on his way out.