While many memories of the Joker Phillips Era will be placed in a special dumpster at UK currently labeled “Gillispie Era”, we did have some good times along the way. Like any breakup, it didn’t end well and most likely left you with a bad taste in your mouth. But usually after time with break ups you’re able to look back on it and remember some of the good times.
I know it has only been 5 days since we officially parted ways with Joker, but he’s 12-23 all time. We knew it was coming. We’ve had time to digest it. Now that we have a resolution and know his fate, let us not forget the good times and the “first times” we experienced with him.
If you think of Joker’s seasons as music albums, most games have been “Taylor Swift singing live” terrible. Occasionally, though, he had us out of our seat “smoothin’ our back out.”
Let’s take a look at Joker’s Greatest Hits.
*Back to Back to Back Bowl Victories- Sure he was the offensive coordinator during this time, but Joker was a big reason for Kentucky’s 2006, 2007, and 2008 bowl victories against Clemson, Florida State, and East Carolina. The first two came in Music City Bowls and the third occurred in the Liberty Bowl. This period of time is arguably the longest period of sustained success in the program’s history.
*September 4th, 2010- In his first game as head coach of the Wildcats, Joker took his team into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and beat the Cardinals 23-16 in front of 55,000+. This was the last time Kentucky has beaten Louisville. In football, that is. As you know, Cal owns Pitino.
*October 16th, 2010- On this day in Commonwealth Stadium Joker became the first Kentucky coach to defeat Steve Spurrier as UK downed South Carolina 31-28. Some might call this the single most exciting game in the Joker Phillips Era as the Cats fought back from a large halftime deficit to rally and win. This was the scene from the stands after the game. “IN YER FACE, SPURRIER!! IN YER FACE!!”
*November 24th, 2011- The day we ended the 26 game losing streak and beat Tennessee with a wide receiver playing quarterback. With the primary quarterbacks injured,
Joker decided Drew Franklin broke the news before the game that Matt Roark would start at quarterback. Matt Roark, (who hadn’t caught many passes thrown to him during the season) was trusted to catch shot gun snap after shot gun snap and lead our team up and down the field. He turned into a legend that day as the Cats defeated the Vols for the first time in 26 tries by a score of 10-7 and gave fans a glimmer of hope heading into 2012.
Look folks, you can think of the Joker Phillips Era what you want. I’m not going to say it went well, because it obviously didn’t. As in life, you can choose to sulk in constant misery or be happy and remember the good times. It’s your choice. I like to remember the good times. “So pass the refreshments a cool cool beverage” and let’s #PackCommonwealth on November 17th and send Joker and the seniors out in style.
To close, here are Danny Trevathan’s thoughts about Joker.