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Joker’s contract makes it tough to replace him

Kentucky Basketball is such a hard act to follow. After such a great season by that program, Wildcats fans are now conditioned to see a winner donning the Kentucky blue. Instead, next up is a rebuilding football team, struggling to find its identity. After an 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky, the pressure on head coach Joker Phillips to win games is going to increase tremendously. But, with a daunting SEC schedule ahead, it’s hard to find exactly where those wins will come from this season. Previous Kentucky Football regimes faced a hardship point too, but eventually they found their way to a winning football. It’s going to take time for Phillips to reach the successes of his predecessors, but, similiar to them, there were dark days before the successes came. These are Phillips’ dark days. 


(From Joker’s contract, read the entire contract here.)

With Phillips signed through December 31, 2014, and Kentucky responsible for his contract through that time, it’s tough to hire a new head coach. Hiring a new guy wouldn’t immediately change Kentucky’s fortunes. It will take time for the new coach to be able to recruit, develop players, and ultimately, win. Paying both Phillips and a new guy wouldn’t make much sense when you aren’t getting an immediate return on your investment.  Mitch Barnhart’s has a tough decision coming up after this season, but the financials might have already made the decision for him.

Also, who is a better hire? Names like Bobby Petrino and Mike Leach aren’t realistic options. Actually, there aren’t many options around the country that would leave their current position to coach at Kentucky, and there aren’t many great names out of jobs, either. People realize the nature of the SEC beast, and the lack of talent to recruit out of this state and that is a tough selling point to a ton of coaches. It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out, but it looks like slim pickings out there.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

140 Comments for Joker’s contract makes it tough to replace him

  1. PatPattersonISwalkingthruthatdoor
    12:33 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    If you make a hire that sells tickets NEXT SEASON, though, it could produce financial returns immediately. Yeah, you might have to wait 2 or 3 seasons for winning football, but you could stomach the Joker buy-out if it’s a hire that sells tickets right away (like the hires of Mumme, Pitino, and Cal).

  2. JMF
    12:35 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Let’s start a Fire Joker fundraiser or a bake sale or anything to get him out of here. Nice guy, yes, but he just isn’t a SEC caliber head coach.

  3. markp
    12:35 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink


  4. Jj
    12:36 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Just stop it. Joker WILL be fired after this season. It’s absolutely not even a question. Second, i’m not sure how you can say Mike Leach isn’t a realistic option. Of course he is. He wants to coach here and Washington State is place he would definitely leave to do it.

  5. UKpaidBCGtoleave
    12:37 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    If it gets bad enough (it will), you pay out the remainder of the contract, cut your losses and move on (imagine 2 more years of this and no fans in the stands).

  6. 3 fan
    12:38 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Mike Leach is an option. Also eat the bullet because Leach hiring would fill stadium and bring in recruits. If UK goes 2-9, what recruits would Joker get?

  7. schwing
    12:39 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    this is a joke right? this happens all the f-ing time when coaches are fired with MORE than one year left on their contract. yes, the school is ultimately left paying for two coaches, but it happens ALL the time. joker’s gone. admit it. you look like an idiot posting this, defending him, saying “good morning” to him, acknowledging his existence in any way. just stop.

  8. Chas
    12:40 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    The LOSER mentality would suggest that no good coach would come to Kentucky! Well that is total bunk folks. The truth is that Barnhart does not have what it takes to make such a hire…..

    If I was the AD and paid $500K a year, I could get it done because I would REFUSE to accept the premise that Kentucky cannot win big..

  9. schwing
    12:40 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    furthermore, this has nothing to do with the basketball team. this is an unbelievably bad football team, even by kentucky football standards.

  10. WERUK
    12:41 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Leach will sale tickets and score points but until he brings a defense along wherever he goes, his teams wont be contenders

  11. schwing
    12:42 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    this was also not a rebuilding football team. joker was handed a rebuilt team that had just gone to multiple bowl games in a row. all downhill from there…

  12. Bob Sugar
    12:42 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Nice try ra’shawwwwnnnn but the no other option, no in-state recruiting, and sec schedule arguments are tired and flawed. You’ve missed the point of shorting Joker.. The real point is not as you suggest (getting a big name that’s afraid of tarnishing his legacy). Instead the real point is that Joker is incompetent and replacing him with any competent coach is a better situation. Furthermore, most fans feel that if we are getting a new, competent coach that we get one with proven success.

  13. DRog
    12:45 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    ummmm….sounds like someone is pro Joker and also doesn’t get CFB contracts. You can’t “wait out” Joker’s contract and just let him go after 2014. After this year there are 2 seasons left. A coach needs at minimum 3 years on his contract, just for recruiting reasons. Preferably, 4-5 years. You want to walk into a recruits house and say “I’ll be there the entire time you are.” “I am not going anywhere.” That is why you see coaches getting extenstions every couple of years. I also believe that Jokers actual salary that UK pays him is between 600-900k. He gets about half his yearly salary from endorsements, coaches shows, and NIke. So in reality, its not that big of a buyout to make for UK to hire a new coach.

  14. Reality
    12:45 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Franklin, do you know anything? Almost every school that fires an underachieving coach has to pay two salaries. This is not something unique. If Mitch and uk are serious about the program, they will bite the bullet and make a change.

  15. Shinny
    12:48 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink


  16. I know someone who can win in the SEC
    12:50 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    The coach at UL Monroe can obviously compete and win in the SEC.

  17. Dear Rashawn
    12:50 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    You’re a doofus. When they fire Joker, please go with them. You add nothing to this site and have little football knowledge.

  18. Patick_Wren
    12:52 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Relax folks….. Rashawn doesn’t really believe what he writes in this article. Joker is done, toast, finished, gone! The question is….how fast do you pull the trigger. I say TODAY!

  19. Franklin is an idiot
    12:54 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    That’s total assanine. What team doesn’t pay two salaries when they fire a coach due to performance? According to Mitch, we have enough money to pay Saban money to our coaches, so paying Joker’s buyout and our new coaches salary shouldn’t be an issue. It sure wasn’t a problem when Clyde was fired. Is there a double standard for the sport that funds all other sports except men’s basketball?

  20. HAHAHA
    12:54 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    You keep writing bud, you’ll get there.

  21. Kipper
    12:54 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Petrino may not be an option for you but he certainly is the best option for uk. I remember the people saying cal would never work out because of his past, we needed billy donavon!! Petrino has PROVEN he can compete on the highest level in the SAME recruiting base.

  22. Han
    12:55 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    We’re a terrible program, but we’re still in the SEC, and we’re still well known because of basketball. We’ll have more options than people realize – it’s more a matter of what the administration is willing to pay and change (facilities) for who we’ll get. Even with our storied history in basketball, there were still tons of people who said our program was undesireable because of the fan expectations and the mess we were in after “running off Tubby” and hiring an alcoholic mess in BSG. They said Cal would not come, and they said no elite coach would even listen (Izzo was listening until MSU finally gave him a better contract.)

    As for Leach, it would likely depend on his buyout. I don’t think he’s unrealistic, even though he’s only in his first year over there. Petrino is probably unrealistic because of his history and personality.

    It all comes down to administration and whether they want to go big, or if they just want to settle for mediocrity.

    6) We could get recruits WKU turned down, I bet.

  23. Sad
    12:56 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    You n k s r are pathetic

    1- he will not get an extension after this yr so recruiting is dead

    2- he comes back n uk would love only 27% decreases in tickets try 75%

    3- Mitch has no choice if he want to ever be an AD now or after uk
    Football brings in the $$$ no other schools give two shi ts about Olympic sports

    4- k s r get off Mitch’s payroll

  24. john
    12:56 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This is why this site continues to lose credibility. Its like Mitch himself wrote this. Pathetic.

  25. Litig8tr
    12:59 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I am tired of hearing that lame “rebuilding” excuse. Joker took over a team that had been to four straight bowl games. Instead of “rebuilding,” he demolished the program. Paying the two remaining years on his contract would be less than they paid Billy G–peanuts.

  26. dave
    1:00 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This is a horrible, horrible, horrible blog. It is either amazingly ignorant or amazingly biased. Maybe both.

  27. raining blood
    1:00 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    the days of “at least basketball is around the corner” are over! This idea that UK is a BB school only is done! Its coming to a head because losing in football like this is sickening and the sickness is spreading like a cancer. However this team is GOING TO BE GOOD NEXT SEASON on both sides of the ball. Who owns that? Joker? Guarantee you Mitch knocks it out of the park if Joker is let go. Its time folks!

  28. GatorChomp
    1:02 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    You boobs going to have a Florida hate day?

  29. DaveUK
    1:03 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Rashawn, dude, did you write this while you were eating cereal this morning or what?

    A. Mike Leach IS a viable option as mentioned above, BUT your boss Matt Jones also said that on the post-game radio show last night! Guess we know who didn’t listen to post-game now don’t we?

    B. As #1 said, a coaching change is needed to fill the seats again even though it’ll take a while to turn the program around. 20,000+ empty seats per game = $1 million minimum PER GAME in lost revenue from ticket sales, concessions, etc. Getting that back will more than pay for Joker’s buyout. Simple math: $46 per ticket (per Ticketmaster) x 20,000 = $920,000.

  30. David
    1:03 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This business about taking time to rebuild is a joke. Joker didn’t inherit a disaster…he created one. It is shocking to see how far Kentucky football has fallen since Rich Brooks retired. And yes Mike Leach would leave Pullman, Washington for Leximgton, Kentucky.

  31. Patick_Wren
    1:04 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I love KSR. I also subscribe to but will let my subscription expire after it has run its course. But articles like this are just silly….

    Mitch Barnhart will make the right decision on the Joker….I just wish he would do it now instead of after the season. There is a least one great Head Coach who is a proven winner that could get a jump start on future recruiting….and he would come. Pull the trigger today. It’s not like waiting till the end of the season will make any difference.

  32. trabe
    1:04 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Auburn offensive coordinator from newtons year is hc of Ark. St. and he would love a opportunity to coach an sec football team.

  33. mores
    1:05 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This is a good blog, but it is prone to real head-scratching posts. This would be one of them. This is as boilerplate a contract as college football contracts go. There are no difficulties here that aren’t seen in any other coach firing. The silliness of the post is magnified by the fact that you have free in-house counsel to run this post by in Matt. That would’ve saved you some published embarrassment.

  34. Joker Loyalty
    1:05 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Dear Fellow UK fans,

    I know you don’t want to hear this right now, but Joker is the best option we have. He lost to instate rivals this year, but both of those were very good teams. We are rebuilding right now and this team is really young. We need to have some patience.


    Father Time

  35. GatorChomp
    1:05 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    You guys are dead meat this week.

  36. bluristhurr
    1:06 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I never read who wrote the article but this is the second time I’ve done this in a week. I looked again like last time to see who wrote somthing so stupid. But you probably got some kinda insider information knowing who is interested. The real answer is we don’t know Joker was the coach in waiting forever. I’d say we haven’t explored it in sometime. With the SEC being a powerhouse in CF I’d say alot of coachs will listen with full respect of wanting the job.

  37. tooblueforyou
    1:07 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Leach is an option, and gus malzahn should be too.

  38. GatorChomp
    1:07 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

  39. Makes Sense
    1:08 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    1: Hire a coach and pay him seven figures to manage a program.
    2: Watch him recruit, coach, and maintain coaches in fashion that damages program.
    3: Watch support and, most importantly, **income** for program diminish.
    4: Cite financial reasons as cause to retain coach.

    Sounds perfectly like Kentucky Football.

  40. your mom
    1:08 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Why do this? This may be the dumbest post on this site, if that is your goal, great job.

  41. @35
    1:08 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    no one actually cares about football so i dont think youre trolling will matter very much. if this was a basketball issue you would have everyone going insane though.

  42. GatorChomp
    1:09 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    68 to zero and your QB walks out with a severe limp.

  43. barn
    1:18 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    rebuilding? from what? these are all joker’s players and offense from way back when he was head recruiter/oc/ciw. do you write for your h.s. paper?

  44. HerpDerp
    1:22 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Please don’t feed the troll who has nothing else to do but post on opponent’s fan sites.

    Anywho, money talks. Throw enough of it at a coach and you’d be surprised who you can get. According to ESPN Mag, UK was the 23rd most profitable football school in the country last year. Time to put some of those $$$ to work folks.

  45. Bill Cowher
    1:25 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    A dolla makes me holla, Honey Boo Boo

  46. Yabba Do
    1:27 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    No more excuses will be tolerated from UK. Nothing short of hiring Petrino is going to be accepted.

  47. Holler Baller
    1:28 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Watched the end of the UK LSU game from 07. Thank God for You Tube.

  48. Hal
    1:30 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    (if you read the contract) if fired during this season or before next joker would get full compensation (base salary: 400k & all TV/radio 1.3mil; not including any yearly increases) for this year & next, but would only get half in his last contract year. so your statements arent entirely true.
    we should hire a new coach while we still have young talent here. 2-3 years of towles/clemons/sweat is enough for a new coach to win with in year 1 or 2 and a foundation to build on.

  49. Mark
    1:32 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    When are you guys gonna figure it out? No big name will come, why would they? We have to find a young up and comer. Who’s the biggest one of those in the nation right now? WILLIE TAGGERT.

  50. jj
    1:32 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    3.4 million over 2 yrs or many millions in lost revenue….u decide

  51. Kcmunk
    1:33 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Pete Carroll. Is the ONLY option, all of you that are asking for Petrino or Leach are the same people that wanted Ford or Pelphrey. How would that have worked? I hope I’m as crazy now as I was when I knew Cal was the only choice.

  52. jj
    1:33 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    you writers are getting worse with every article

  53. Ken beam
    1:43 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I am sick of hearing about how we can’t when it comes to UK football. it is time to change a culture from we can’t to why can’t we? It should be easy to recruit players and Coaches at UK. We play in the greatest conference there is and play on prime time. Stop making excuses for why we can’t!

  54. Patick_Wren
    1:49 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Pete Carroll… that’s a statement. Would certainly put Kentucky Football on the map!

  55. Rich Madky
    1:52 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Matt should be embarrassed to have this type of crap written on his site by one of his writers. It’s complete b.s..

  56. This same guy
    1:52 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This Rashawn fella also said that you don’t go for two at home to win the game in the final plays of a game… Wow.. Dude, seriously please beg Matt and the KSR bunch to remove you from writing about football.. Joker should be fired today, these players deserve more than to have to deal with his incompetence as a coach.. Best players with eligibility will ask for transfer if joker stays.. Guaranteed.

  57. putinrichie
    1:52 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I would rather have four more years of Joker than one year of Mike Leach. The man is a terrible coach and a terrible human being.

  58. putinrichie
    1:56 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    The misconception among the sunshine pumpers is that a new coach could make UK relevant in football. No coach that we are able to hire to replace Joker will make us relevant or do better than a Music City Bowl. Does that mean we keep Joker?? No, he’s taken this program that was annually making it to a bowl and made us worse each year of his tenure. I want a new coach, but the people who act like Commonwealth will be rocking for a new coach or that UK will somehow become relevant are just as bad as the Joker apologists.

  59. Stevie
    1:57 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    #57, I would rather shut UK football down than to have even one more year with the Joker.

  60. putinrichie
    1:57 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Serious question….which is worse

    a.) Joker Apologist
    b.) Unrealistic Blue Tinted Sunshine Pumper

  61. putinrichie
    1:59 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    59 – I want a new coach too…not defending Joker, just don’t why anyone wants that fat slob coaching Washington State as our coach. Mitch wouldn’t hire Leach anyways. Leach is too combative and controversial.

  62. freethrow
    2:02 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    #55, I got your back.

    I have been in IT for years and several years ago a customer wanted me to show him an easy way to build a website called Seeing how he was a customer and all I couldn’t totally unload on him as he was actually paying me to show him how to do it. But, that didn’t keep me from telling him I didn’t agree and that Coach Brooks only needed a bit more time and some better players on the field and bench. He built the site anyway and I got smiles for several years after that as UK went to Bowl Games with Brooks as coach. I think Joker is in the same situation, personally.

  63. Dumb Hilljack
    2:03 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Far Meetch!!

  64. ukcat1
    2:03 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    What are our options?
    1. Semi retired like Brooks was?
    2. Baggage–Petrino (would not stay any length of time) Leach, Tressel ?
    3. Young up and coming coach? Who? It could break their career or if successful they will go to bigger and better?

    Mitch has a hard job; It is different finding a coach for a bottom division I team vs finding a coach for one of the top 5 programs in the country. HE HAD BETTER BE LOOKING; he has no choice. The math of empty seats speaks or has spoken.

  65. DaveUK
    2:05 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Some statistics I’m sure is keeping Mitch up at night:
    2009: Hosted Florida at home to attendance of 71,011 , Alabama 70,967, Louisville 70,988.
    2012: Kent State 48,346, WKU 53,980 (average: 51,163)

    Granted this is comparing two SEC games and Louisville with non-conference games this year but avg. attendance in Brooks’ last year was 65,316. Projected loss of revenue from 14,183 unsold seats for 7 home games in 2012? $4,566,926. Include concession losses, employee layoffs from lowered stadium staffing needs, etc. and it’s a real problem that has to be addressed at the end of this season at the latest, but the sooner the better.

  66. Experienced
    2:12 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Pete Carroll– that is certainly not something I expected to hear but nonetheless great out of the box thinking!!! Even though Carroll, Petrino or Leach are all big names. Carroll and Petrino actually bring defense. There ARE big names out there but are we ready to accept the baggage? I say YES! A controversial hire is exactly what this program needs! Imagine the uproar on ESPN when one of those coaches gets hired at UK. Mitch would get them in line, that is one thing I trust Barnhart to do. Give this program a new spark in coaching talent and national attention for the RIGHT reasons!!

  67. Danny Trevethan
    2:14 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink


  68. tyson
    2:17 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This could be the dumbest, most ill-informed, agenda driven post ever on KSR, and that is saying something.

  69. tep
    2:17 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    We paid tubby his longevity bonus and he was the one to quit, not get fired. e paid to get rid of Gilispie. We can pay to get rid of the Joke.

  70. Revenge
    2:17 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Hire strong from the Tards. That would be beautiful!

  71. bluebabyblue
    2:19 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    My Lord PEOPLE!! Enough about Bobby Petrino! Kentucky does not want this man in our State, let alone coaching our football team. Selling out UK to a low life with his ugly reputation is NOT an option. Have you already forgotten WHO was on that bike with him when he crashed and what ‘Bobby Petrino’ the person really is? I am surprised that any of you BBN fans would even allow the thought of Petrino in Lexington. Let’s not sell our souls to the devil just to win a few football games, there are many GOOD coaches still available with morals.

  72. putinrichie
    2:21 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    64 – Of those choices, I would choose number 3. While I do think Brooks was the right choice and successfully took UK from probation to a team that went to a bowl each year…I don’t think that choosing number 1 is a long term solution.

    Additionally, the baggage coaches have baggage for a reason. I don’t want UK hiring a coach that just got fired from their previous employer amid scandal. I know that a lot of people want a PROVEN coach, but if you really are proven than you can do better than UK. I also don’t think this is what Mitch or the university wants a football coach that is combative. They want UK football to win 6-8 games season, make a bowl, and keep fans in the stands without pushing the envelope in recruiting.

    While an up and comer might not be proven, I would love to land a coach who was successful as a coordinator at a high profile university, who has a well earned reputation recruiting, and that can bring energy in the program.

  73. Mr obvious
    2:23 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Ever heard of Jim tressel or frank solich?

  74. class of 68
    2:24 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This is why I don’t usually read most of what’s written on this site anymore. Most of it is just fluff or B.S. It didn’t used to be that way. Mrs. TT is about the only good writer left on here.

  75. JC
    2:24 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This is the dumbest thing ever put on this site. It really crushed the University and the fortunes of the basketball program by having to pay Billy Gillespie and hire John Calipari. I would love for Joker to succeed or even be moderately successful at Kentucky. And lets be honest, moderate success is all we will be at Kentucky in football. But what happened last night cannot happen. You can’t have the coach of Western Kentucky mock you.

  76. DP
    2:27 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I love how this dipshit Gator fan comes on here trying to talk smack and doesn’t get acknowledged. Dude, you suck at talking trash, now move along and let us melt down on in peace.

  77. Dave in Bangkok
    2:27 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I wish this blog article was on paper so that I could wad it up and wipe my @$$ with it.

  78. Han
    2:27 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    51) Is he doing terrible at Seattle, bad enough to want to come back to college? He may have the ego to want to take a bottom feeder in the best conference. Even though he may have had cheating going on, I’d put him in the “aim high” category with Tressel.

    66) Add Tressel to the list. Even more controversial than Petrino. Brings baggage of show cause, but we can still hire him. It would just give our compliance department more to do and more for Tipton to watch. But that would happen with Petrino or Caroll, too.

    Those names may be ludicrous, but there is something to be said for having a chance to coach in the SEC, and in the easier half of the conference (Florida and USC are good now, but Georgia and Tennesse aren’t reliable.) While we are a basketball school, can you imagine the marketing opportunities of putting both Cal and a Tressel or Caroll out there? Would bring the crowds, the media, the recruits, and booster money for improvements.

  79. bluebabyblue
    2:28 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    For the LAST time…Mike Leach is NOT an option unless Barnhart goes first. Mitch will NEVER…NEVER, hire Mike Leach. Got IT!?? Good.

  80. markp
    2:29 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    10 That’s why Petrino is a better choice. I would take Leach for a second choice though.

  81. putinrichie
    2:33 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    75 – Agree….while it would have destroyed the smoke and mirrors crowd, Joker could have coached here for life if he could just win 6-7 games a season. That’s all it takes. UK fans just want bowl games, a football program that is competitive in the SEC, and no embarassments like yesterday.

    That’s it. Its not like the bar is set that high.

    The downward spiral of our program is too much to ignore right now. Joker is a great guy and I would take him back as an assistant coach in a second, but the HC job appears to be much for him to handle.

  82. bob loblaw
    2:33 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    7(d)(xv) defines cause as engaging in conduct that embarrasses the University. I’d say losing to WKU is pretty embarrassing to the University. Just my two cents. Also, that provision seems incredibly vague.

  83. putinrichie
    2:34 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    79 – Agree. Mitch would hire himself as the head coach before hiring Leach. Not only will Leach not be the coach here, we won’t even make the call. Mark it down.

  84. JohnnyRed
    2:36 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    As a Louisville fan, I would hate to see Petrino at UK. My guess is that by year 2 of his contract he would have UK in a bowl and by year 4 he would have UK in the top 3rd of the SEC. The man can recruit, coach and is a football genious. And I could see him taking the job – he has a huge ego and it would give him an opportunity to show the country how he can build a program – again.

  85. Mark
    2:45 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Willie Taggart!! I’m tellin ya!

  86. Mark
    2:46 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Willie Taggart!! I’m tellin ya! Sho nuf!

  87. DaveUK
    2:49 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    One last statistic that makes replacing Joker more financially palatable:
    His contract states a buyout w/o cause for next season @ 100% ($1.7M)and subsequent years @ 50% ($850k) = $2.55M. We will lose much more than that this season. Although it doesn’t a payment schedule for termination without cause, if it’s equal monthly installments we could spread the cost over those remaining two contract years. In essence, Barnhart has no financial excuse for not pulling the trigger to replace Joker.

  88. markp
    2:50 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    84 even through those Cardinal goggles you see clearer than Mitch, or Matt, or any of the apologists commenting here.

  89. j8
    2:51 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    “Previous Kentucky Football regimes faced a hardship point too, but eventually they found their way to a winning football.” Huh?

  90. WhySoSerious
    2:53 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Here’s the thing:

    To keep the fans reasonably happy at UK, the coach:

    1. needs to win the OOC games;
    2. Needs to get some wins (50-60%) against the Vandys, Ole Miss, and MSUs of the SEC;
    3. Probably upset some of the big boys every other year or so.

    If the coach does this, he is going to a bowl every year and the fans will be pretty happy. Joker loses to WKU and U of L (so he cannot do #1) and probably has little chance to do #2 and #3 above which is why he must be fired.

    UK fball fans are NOT that demanding. No one is asking Joker to beat Bama or UF to save his job for chrissake.

  91. Owen
    2:53 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I wouldn’t take Petrino or Leach. Both those guys have big question marks about their characters, and no matter how much we love Cal (and know that he’s a great person), having another coach that looks bad to everyone else makes us look desperate. Then again, we are desperate. Regardless, I say we should be willing to spend as much money on a football coach as we do basketball if we can get the right guy–football makes way more money and we need that revenue.

    Personally, I say we chase some NFL/former NFL guys who have had success at the college level OR we go after successful D2/D3 coaches who have won national titles at that level and hopefully run a system the SEC would be relatively unprepared for.

  92. Audio
    2:54 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I feel like at this point, a change has to be made, even if for no other reason but principle alone. Even if we can’t make a homerun hire and turn the program around in a year, we can’t send the message that we’re ok with what Joker’s doing here. A change has to be made, even if it means promoting a high school coach. Under no circumstances can Joker be on our sideline next year.

  93. kfund
    2:55 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone who wants Petrino is someone not to be listened to.

    Leach is making $2mil, same as Peterson at Boise State. Offer them 3-4 mil and a new stadium with recruiting facilities.

    Between those two I’d rather offer Peterson.

    Ask about Kirby Smart. Defense wins championships.

  94. kfund
    2:59 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    90. Actually, I’d appreciate it very much if he beat FL… 😉

  95. markp
    3:00 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    93 Peterson may do it out West but this is the SEC. Petrino has done it.

  96. Jubrho
    3:17 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Cal can coach both teams. Basketball wouldn’t miss a beat and football would improve.

  97. R. Smith
    3:17 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    at some point during the Tubby Smith era, I’m sure folks at KSR would have said John Calipari isn’t an option either.

    Its about making winning a priority. The hiring of Joker Phillips was making winning a priority as much as it was taking the path of least resistance.

  98. BBNinHawaii
    3:22 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    The best words used to describe the current state of the UK Football program came from Oscar Combs today. “It appears its’ time to re-evaluate program from top to bottom, everything from staff to scheduling. And, of course its commitment to football.” I couldn’t agree more. As fans we are spoiled by our basketball program, and that punishes our football team for some reason. I believe in Joker, if not simply for the fact that we will NOT have a better hire than him right now. But the problem with UK football is so much more than our coach. We have no recruiting base in KY, so it’s time to improve the PeeWee & HS programs. We need better facilities to attract coaches & players (especially as an SEC program) so let’s make it happen. We need fans in every seat at Commonwealth who will support these great kids. So get on it BBN!

  99. Roofus Howls
    3:24 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Let Cal put on a fundraiser to get the money to fund Joker’s buyout. Between Cal’s clout and the fanbase’s hatred of Joker, we could probably erase the national debt, much less pay Joker to be fired.

    And if Petrino says yes, we should take him. Warts and all. He’s burned so many bridges, he would have nowhere else to go.

  100. Jim
    3:27 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    After the Louisville game I ask KSR and other sports writers across the state to stop trying to put a positive spin on a hopeless situation. Now it seems you are trying to put a negative spin in hiring a new coach and have created a double negative. Please just report on the games, recruiting,etc. and let the UK fans tell you what they want. NO MORE SPIN.

    When Bob Stoops took the Oklahoma job, he hired Leach as his offensive coordinator. He knew the excitement that Leach’s offence created for the fans and his ability to put points on the board.

    If names like Leach and Petrino, who create instant offensive excitement and get talented recruits, are not realistic options, what’s the next option? Start looking for offensive coordinators at the top programs and work your way down. There are still some left who have worked at other good programs and want to become a head coach. They know other coaches to help build their staff and know how to recruit.

    Barnhart needs help (he is not capable) in making the right selction, even if it means getting someone outside the UK family to help recommend the right coach. To be willing to win you’ve got to spend $. If Barnhart is no willing then we need a new AD (not a bad idea anyway). Coach, staff, and all facilities need to be supported $ wise. KY fans will support a winning program. So stop spinning and get the AD pointed in he right direction or get him out.

  101. steve
    3:27 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    The original post is complete BS.

    3 straight losing season is NOT acceptable. END OF STORY!

  102. kramer
    3:28 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Ok why isn’t Petrino an option? Because he fooled around on his wife and got caught, that didn’t get Pitino fired, because he left an NFL team with no warning(that was a dumb move), i’ll give you that one. Everywhere he has been he has won, broght excitement to that team, and he can recruit. Now would he take the job if Joker’s fired, I don’t have any idea. What I do know is he was let go for his questionable character. He will probably want to go somewhere that he can build a team,no great expectations right away. UK has hired its share of troubled coaches, in the past, Football and Basketball so I don’t really see an issue,or it shouldn’t be an issue. Of course who knows what will happen, Joker seems like a nice person, but he is in a no win situation. Really when you think about football really isn’t a nice guys job.

  103. SteveM
    3:28 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This site is becoming unreadable. Jones, get someone who knows what their talking about. Anyone would be an improvement ove phillips. What a stupid article.

  104. Brock0029
    3:29 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    People are assuming Mitch Barnhart will be the one doing the hiring in the off-season. That’s a bad assumption.

  105. Reed Rothchild
    3:30 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I didn’t read the entire contract (via link) but nothing in the portion printed above states the school must pay Joker for the remainder of his contract…. it says if the school terminates the Program itself the coach will be paid…

  106. Owen
    3:36 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I vote we hire Earnest Byner. He’s currently TBs RB coach but he’s coached 2 of past 3 leading RBs in the NFL and in his 8 seasons every single top RB he’s coached has reached 1000 yards.

  107. Nick
    3:37 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Cry me a river on Barnhart’s “tough decision.” He’s the one that said he was going to “give Joker time to turn the program around.” Looks like they succeeded.

  108. blitzedanddazed
    3:38 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Now we will see the type of “Man” Joker truly is. He he so vain that he will drag the University through hell or will he step up and do what is right?

  109. Kyle
    3:43 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    This might be the worst logic I have ever seen in a KSR article. Doesnt make financial sense? Ok keep going 2-9, have 25,000 fans fill the stadium and ride the backs of the SEC west to the tune of 4-5 millions dollars a year in bowl revenue. UK has the money to fire Joker and hire A. Petrino/Leach/Tressel or B. A young guy who is starting to make a name for himself. WKU is better than us and that is a disgrace to the lack of talent and motivation in our locker room. Once again no first quarter touchdowns and uninspired defense. For god sakes we hired the Indiana State linebacker coach to run our defense what did we expect. I am a season ticket holder and am one of the few who supported Joker until now. If Mitch fires him and brings in a has been like Houston Nutt, Tuberville, Fulmer or another Brooks type this program will fall off the face of the earth. We are desperate and have to try to reel in a big fish to save what is left of the program.

  110. bmack
    3:48 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker, is that you?

    So you’re saying coaches only get let go after their contracts expire? It’s an extension or termination after this season and there’s no way they give him an extension.

  111. Wildcatsteeler
    3:50 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Get rid of Barnhart while you’re at it. He’s 1 for 3. Gillespie and Joker were HUGE mistakes. Even if we do get rid of Joker I have ZERO faith he will get anyone of the magnitude we need.

  112. WhySoSerious
    3:51 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    106. I cannot imagine many less demanding tasks than being a position coach. How hard can it be to coach 3 or 4 players? That is not even close to enough preparation to become a HC.

  113. Lol
    3:58 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Morals???? Really

    Y does k s r refuse to investigate the poker and the Mary ho situation??? Ooooo because they r not real journalists…. Duke frat boys selling out to tee shirt adds and Barntard and other crap

    LHL looking pretty good now

  114. BigBlueBalls
    4:07 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone else ever get a little offended when you read something about the lack of talent in the state? There is talent, but it’s always at the same schools because they actually develop players. However, most schools have old school, backwards coaches still running the veer, and never take the time to make kids better football players. I like to think that I could have played college football if someone actually took the time to make me a better player and prepare me for the next level.

  115. BlueDoug46
    4:23 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    My top picks are (in no particuliar order) : Jay Gruden (played at UL has local ties and national reputation with brother) , Frank Solich(great experience leading large program for years), Paul Petrino (knows Bobby`s system , has local recruiting ties, especially if he brings Jeff Brohm with him, and has no baggage like his brother)/ Brent Pease (Boise St. o cordinator now at Florida has local ties was on Mumme`s staff and will have some Florida recruitign ties as well as how to move the ball against good competetition. HE IS MY FIRST CHOICE.. WE ARE NOT GETTING BOBBY PETRINO.. I would take mike Leach over any of the above but I dont think we offer him.. we will see. Joker is gone barring a miracle..

  116. Bluesuede
    4:24 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Joker and Mary Jo…… ?
    ….what happened ?

    4:51 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Fire Joker and hire Kliff Kingsbury, a Leach protege, former OC of the year at Houston and current OC at A&M

  118. dan
    5:00 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Who is this dumbass writing this LOL

  119. JLL84
    5:02 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    @115 Jay Gruden turned down interviews with the Indianapolis Colts,Jacksonville Jaguars, and St. Lois Rams for their HC openings. Guessing that wasn’t because he was waiting out our joke of a AD to fire his SECOND joke of a hire in 5 years. We have to get someone proven (Calipari). The last time Mitch went to find an up in comer we ended up with a drunk too crazy for Texas Tech. I’m not asking Leach or Petrino to help raise my kids I want them to win football games for Kentucky, I’ll live with their issues.

  120. Kfan
    5:04 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    How about Brian Billick

  121. C A T S cats cats cats
    5:04 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    What about Tommy Tuberville? He is after all an SEC guy with knowledge of football. Texas Tech folks don’t like him so maybe he’s an option? Input and thoughts welcome.

  122. Brad
    5:18 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    It is thinking like this that has led UK football to the state that it is in. We had a golden opportunity to replicate the formula that Brooks had laid out in Oregon, but squandered it due to lack of funding. Brooks himself was dissatisfied and frustrated at the end of his tenure due to the lack of financial support the program received when things started getting better and we were going to bowls of some sort on a consistent basis.

    Oregon was in the same if not worse circumstance but once some level of credibility came then the fund followed from alumni, the school and Nike. Once that over the top funding started then Oregon was able to take it to the next level and are now a consistent top 10 team.

    If UK wants to be great in basketball then it needs the guts it took to build Rupp Arena in the 70s to invest in an o Eric the top NEW football stadium, athletic dorm, training center, field house and anything else it takes. We will know we are there when professors, local media and etc complain about the exorbitant, ov the top, ridiculous investment going into the football program.

    If you want to be great then act like you belong there and build the foundation and hire the coach with the vision and leadership that shows you expect to get there – otherwise stop complaining.

    Kentucky could be a great SEC team if it really wanted to going a consistent 9-3 / 10-2 with 8-4 seasons as a down year.

    We have 32M in revenue and 14M in expenses. The rest of the SEC expenses are Alabama 31M, Auburn 27M, LSU 25M, FL 24M, SC 22M, AK 22M, GA 18M, TN 17M, Vandy 14M, UK 14M, Ole Miss 12M, MSU 10M.

    Funny how that is just about how you can roughly rank the programs year in year out. Don’t give me recruiting advantage arguments either. Florida now supports 4 teams that are consistently in or at at least close to the top 25. Alabama supports 2 top 10 teams on a consistent basis.

    I can guarantee you this if you don’t significantly out spend the top programs in the SEC you will never have a chance to overcome their other advantages.

    HOPE is not a strategy – something UK and Obama need to both learn.

  123. Brad
    5:19 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Strike great in basketball for great in football

  124. Bad effort
    5:20 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I won’t even comment on this post, as it is so full of errors and illogical arguments, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

    Simple math says you lose $3.5 million a year through decreased ticket sales (10K x $50 x 7 games). That’s just what we lost this year.

    If I’m Mitch, I make a call to Josh McDaniel for $3 mil per and $1.75 – $2 mil for assistant coaches, hoping he’ll hire Butch Davis for $750K+

  125. Brad
    5:21 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Strike o Eric the. Fr over the top – gosh darn auto spell check on iPad

  126. Will HIll
    5:27 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Mitch would keep Joker, except for the fact that attendance is dropping. Petrino is going to take of for Chizik when Auburn fires him. We are going to end up with a former Texas Tech coach. It won’t be Leach, though, it will be Tuberville after he gets fired this year.

  127. kevdaly
    5:51 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Who is Rawshawn Franklin and what have they done with his brain?
    Joker is gone and I could name a thousand people who would do a better job than he does.
    Leach is definitely an option. Does the writer of this article ever paid attention to any sport ever? The buyout is a drop in the bucket compared to how much U.K. will lose by keeping this Joke(er).

  128. Monty
    6:05 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Stop with this “we shouldn’t ever expect to be good” propaganda! Mike leach is a possible option no matter how you slice it, geographical location means absolutely nothing, Tennessee and Ohio state recruit excellently! Vanderbilt will never be able to recruit due to their superb academic standards….. Wait what they went out and got a coach and turned it around? Damnit! There is no hindrance that can not be over come, we just need a recruiter.

  129. BigBlueFoo
    6:12 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Randy Shannon?? Still young and has ties to recruiting in Florida. But i agree with the Tressel supporters.

  130. FootballShame
    6:24 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Jon Gruden

  131. herb the cat
    6:36 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Willie Taggert has his teams play tough defense. West coast offense. Recruiting ties to florida. A coach on the rise. Someone new not a recycled coach.

  132. mike d
    7:26 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Where did you get this clown, Rashawn? Content and grammar are both wrong in this blog. Good to see the results of affirmative action both at KSR and in the UK football program.

  133. JC
    8:10 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    mike d (132) is making statements that make me sick. Get your small ensnarement of a brain off of this site. You are proving that you shouldn’t be allowed to speak or write. Do us all a favor and die.

  134. Chuck
    8:31 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I wish everybody that read this would go to the website of the University of Alabama coaching staff and read the bio on Kirby Smart. Talk about impressive!!!! Why not give it a shot and see if would be willing to come to UK for some big bucks. What he’s accomplished since graduating from Georgia in 1999 cannot be touched by any of the names that everybody has been throwing out there.

  135. Somervillain
    8:59 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    Could someone please explain this insurmountable recruiting hurdle since our state doesn’t produce many great players? Aren’t we the Northern border of the best conference in the country? Shouldn’t we be able to sell awesome players at least from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois ,Pennsylvania, and Hell even upstate New York that we are their chance to play in the best conference in the land? (And take in some awesome hoops while their at it).

  136. Brad
    9:02 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    The point is you can not significantly underspend, AND have no history or tradition in the sport, AND exist in a state with a small recruiting base AND have a mediorce to below average coaching staff and then expect to have winning results. THAT IS WHAT IS ILLOGICAL.

    HOPE the FEELING that what is wanted can be had or that things will turn out for the best. This is what the administration has been preying on for years and it is now time for fans to say …..”what are you the school going to do to give us the fans a reasonable logical belief that we can compete in our own league?”

  137. Brad
    9:05 pm September 16, 2012 Permalink

    I like the Kirby Smart idea

  138. John
    6:44 am September 17, 2012 Permalink

    With the hole that Joker has dug, perhaps we could lobby to have Mitch offer Jesus Christ a contract. I believe he is the only one that could dig us out of the hole that we are in.

  139. the next coach is
    11:50 am September 17, 2012 Permalink

    rooted for joker when noone else was,he bleeds blue,and would stay if he ha done good but it will take miracle now.ERIC MANGINI WOULD BE THE PERFCT FIT.he beat bill belicheck at new england and that is his the espn exposure for two years and nfl exp will let him upgrade recruiting.would be similiar to gottfried at ncstate, worked at espn now his recruiting is 200 times better.

  140. don
    11:52 am September 17, 2012 Permalink

    i vote for “chucky” as the new coach