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Let’s meet UK’s new Defensive Backs Coach, Mike Cassity.

Sorry about the Louisville picture… it was all I could find.

Last week Coach Joker Phillips announced former Marshall defensive backs coach Mike Cassity would join UK at the same position. Cassity replaces former defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator, Steve Brown, and takes over a Wildcat secondary that will look completely different next season. Both starting cornerbacks are graduating and three safeties are seniors too. Kentucky posted a 5-7 record, but the graduating members of the secondary provided stability in the back of the defense. They only gave up 22.7 points a game, 193.8 passing yards a game, and ranked 30th in the country as a pass defense. Cassity has his hands full as he takes over because he has to find a way to replace that production. As a UK grad and former assistant coach at UK, Cassity has an outstanding resume’ and definitely will be up to the challenge of coaching and reloading this secondary. Mike Cassity is the “who” now here is the what, when, where and why.


WHAT: A new secondary. Cassity takes over a secondary that is returning two seniors and host of sophomores. They add a hard-hitting JUCO transfer in Kory Brown, who figures to challenge for a starting job. Joker’s recruiting class also has a bunch of three-stars DB recruits (Randall Cobb, Winston Guy, and Matt Roark were all three stars recruits) which bodes well for the future of the secondary. The challenge will be to immediately get the players settled in their new roles and continue to build on the success that was had last year. Free Safety Mikie Benton and Cornerback Cartier Rice will have the most experience of the defensive backs going into the season and the Cats will need a big year from both of them.

WHEN: Right now. Coach Phillips had a lot of fans calling for his job before ending the 26-year drought against the Volunteers, and some still are. I personally thought it was unwarranted because I think Phillips is an outstanding coach who is still working with some of Rich Brooks’ players. Nothing against Coach Brooks or his recruits, but it takes time to completely have a college football program looking how you want. It takes time to implement your own players, staff, and philosophy and on top of that have success while doing it. Even if Joker didn’t beat Tennessee I thought he should be given more time. Phillips replaces Brown, a Brooks hire, with his own guy in Cassity. There aren’t any excuses for Joker now and he has to at least get to a bowl game to consider his job completely safe.

WHERE: Back to Lexington. Cassity has an exceptional resume’ and it all begins with his years as assistant coach here at UK. He has 37 years of coaching experience and 22 of those years have been at defensive coordinator. Here’s the list of schools Cassity has coached at: Kentucky (1975-1981) Morehead State (1982), WKU (1983-88), Northeast Louisana (1989), East Carolina (1990-91), Georgia Tech (1992-1993), Cincinnati (1994), Wisconsin (1995-96), Baylor (1997-98), Oklahoma State (1999-2000), Illinois (2001-2003), Louisville (2004-07) and Marshall (2009-2011). During his career he has sent 34 players to the NFL and when he was with Louisville he had the defense in the top 40 nationally all three years. Cassity has even worked with current defensive coordinator Rick Minter on two previous occasions and should have no problem adjusting to the defensive philosophy. Having a number of coaches on one side of the ball who have had success calling defenses in the NCAA is definitely a plus.

WHY: He’s a Kentucky native. Cassity was born in Fort Campbell, KY. He is a graduate of UK where he lettered in football and wrestling during his time here. He played on the same teams as Phillips, linebackers coach Chuck Smith, and special teams’ coordinator Greg Nord. Cassity is also a pretty good recruiter. He was named 2007 Big East recruiter of the year by during his Louisville tenure and chosen as one of the top-25 recruits by in 2005.

The biggest reason Cassity was hired is because Coach Phillips is trying to get his own staff in place for a big push for a bowl game in the 2012 season. Phillips will go into the season with a warm seat and it could get hotter depending on his success, or lack thereof. The schedule does not do the Wildcats any favors. The first three SEC opponents all won their respective bowl games and having a lot of SEC teams on your schedule is never an easy task. Its bowl game or bust for the UK Football team, we will see if they are up to the challenge.

You can read the official statement of Cassity’s hire here.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

34 Comments for Let’s meet UK’s new Defensive Backs Coach, Mike Cassity.

  1. BigBlueSkyDog
    9:10 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    We need a new secondary coach as much as we need a new secondary. Thankfully we now have both.

  2. tom5673
    9:12 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    anyone see the poor guy get rejected by his girlfriend at the ucla game? that was as pathetic as the ucla attendance. check out the open seats. there’s noone there. shabazz…are you seein’ that?
    i was there last wednesday for the lamar game…24,000+ baby! that’s how we roll.
    go cats!

  3. Yesterdays
    9:14 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    Production? What secondary are we talking about? Our Secondary gets roasted every other play. Not sure why, but our secondary has NEVER, ever had good ball skills. Sometimes its painful to watch three guys not be able to even tip a pass as the WR catches it and our guys fall down. Good Luck to this coach, he will need it. With zero pass rush, these guys will have to hold up for 4-5 seconds.

  4. Answer
    9:19 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    Fire Joker now, cut our losses…

  5. tom5673
    9:19 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    i have a question for bbn. does anyone besides me care about finishing the regular season (including the conference tournament ranked a.p. #1? kentucky has finished #1 eight times. that ties us with ucla with 8. duke has 7, and unc has 6. personally, i think that four months of hard work getting it done on the road, gutting out tough wins and winning the conference tournament to secure the #1 ranking deserves more credit. i believe one large banner at rupp with the eight years listed would be perfect.
    fyi, the years are ’49, ’51, ’52, ’54, ’66, ’70, ’78 and ’03. unfortunately, the associated press began their ranking in 1949, so the ’48 fabulous five doesn’t get credit with one. the ’46 nit champs probably would have ranked pretty high as well. four of the eight teams didn’t make the final four and therefore, do not have a banner hung in their honor. the ’54, ’70 and ’03 teams were some of our best in history. they need to be honored. who’s with me?

  6. tom5673
    9:28 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    and, don’t get me wrong…i freakin’ love the ncaa tournament. but, let’s be honest. rarely do the best teams in the country end up winning the championship. last year’s team was incredibly tough and provided some of the most exciting moments in our history. but that team finished ranked #11, made it to the final four and gets to hang a banner (deservingly so). my point is that we as a fan base and a program should place more emphasis on the regular season and finishing a.p. #1. it’s an incredible accomplishment (four months compared to three weeks of madness). and, i’m not saying in no way should we not hang final four banners (although you could make the case to only hang championship banners), but their should be a banner for those teams that did secure the a.p. #1 ranking.

  7. Parker
    9:30 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    Is Rashawn going to be writing for the new college site or continue writing for the regular KSR site? He is a great writer and I look forward to see more of his work in the future.

  8. Banners?urTalkinBanners?
    9:36 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    Tom5673 – what the hell are you talking about. First: your comment has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Second: you are an idiot.

  9. tyson
    9:37 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    i stopped reading when you said, ” Phillips is an outstanding coach who is still working with some of Rich Brooks’ players.” You DO realize that Joker has been the recruiting coordinator and coach in waiting, both of which means he is playing with HIS players, don’t you?

    By the way, can you guys get the comment section fixed on this site?

  10. Funky Monkey
    9:46 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    Cassity is an excellent hire, UK is lucky to get him.

  11. tom5673
    9:48 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    #8: this post is meaningless. it’s basketball season. i’m an idiot for wanting to honor eight of our best teams in program history? how does that make me an idiot? they used to have a.p. #1 banners hanging from the rafters in the past. i was just trying to stir up some friendly conversation…that’s all, cool guy.

  12. Steve Kragthorpe
    9:50 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    You guys got a good one. We only gave up about 40 points a game when he was a DC. He was so good that I had to fire him to save my own job.

  13. bob
    9:59 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    9. Thank You…. Ky football–no joke

  14. OakRidge_Cat
    10:02 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    Joker has his players and has had his players for sometime. He has now fired almost every coach that took this team to 4 bowl games in a row. I hope it works for him but I’m skeptical to say the least. Ending the streak got me off his back for another year though.

  15. Wow
    10:05 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    Tards just got 2 UF tranfers. One was the #2 TE in the country coming out of HS. He scored a td against us this year. The other was a 3 star WR. They also just got a LB who had an offer from every top SEC and ACC school. Plus, it appears 2 4 star LB’s are going to commit at the All American game. We may not beat them for years.

  16. Bulldawg
    10:07 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with #9, that was a “bone-head” statement. The players that play for UK were ALL pretty much recruited by the Joker. I like Rashawn’s optimism and this was an informative post excluding that statement about it not being Jokers players…crazy or lack of knowledge. Let’s just hope he was tying to fill up space…

  17. nolablue
    10:10 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    Surely you people don’t think all posts underneath the original posts have to do
    with each other? If we had some kind of forum, then yes, that would be the case.
    But as it is, much that is not relative to the OP gets discussed. Can I get a “DUH”?

    I’m hearin’ you tom5673. I think there’s a certain generational difference of opinion about
    what success is. I agree with what you said, and I think you said it well. It would be most
    excellent to finish ranked #1 ***and*** hang a Championship Banner!

    I’m not sure if y’all know this, but Steve Kragthorpe is down here in Louisiana working
    for/with a football team you might’ve heard of. *cough cough* He’s also very ill, so
    any of you with a shred of decency might want to replace your barbs with prayers
    for a while. He has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, but continues
    to do as much coaching as he can. God bless him and his family. GEAUX TIGERS!!!!!

  18. Bulldawg
    10:12 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    #15 it won’t be long until Miami…oops I mean Loserville will be on probation. It’s one thing to get players to play for a Nationally known coach at the top program in the nation but to “all the sudden” start loading up on these super recruits with nothing of a program and an unproven head coach spells probation.

  19. BowelMovement
    10:22 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    Coach Cal while at Memphis

  20. string music
    10:31 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    I’ll bet anyone $50.00 that UK doesn’t make a bowl game next year…any takers? Didn’t think so. If there is anyone that thinks we as a program are headed in the right direction with Joker as coach, they are crazy. I hope to hell I’m wrong and I will come here and admit I was wrong and beg forgiveness for not believing. But I’ve seen bad football before and the coach was a good guy…..Hello Bill Curry.

  21. Litig8tr
    10:39 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    “I think Phillips is an outstanding coach who is still working with some of Rich Brooks’ players. Nothing against Coach Brooks or his recruits, but it takes time to completely have a college football program looking how you want. It takes time to implement your own players, staff, and philosophy and on top of that have success while doing it.”

    Absolutely the dumbest comment I’ve ever seen on this site. That is a cliche used when a coach takes over a floundering program and must rebuild. Phillips took over a team that had been to consecutive bowl games and ran it into the ground.

  22. STEVE!
    10:41 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    He’s coached at what appears to be 12 seemingly random schools in the 30 years since he left Kentucky, with some periods of unemployment. I guess that means he is an excellent coach and in high demand.

  23. JBR
    11:05 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    COACH IN WAITING…Joker sucks and has his hands all over this team for years…ALL of these guys the last two years were his recruits, too. More time? Have you actually watched any of our games? Tell me, in football terms of on the field coaching, why anyone would have any optimism that Joker can change anything. Please. He has no discipline, plays favorites, the players don’t respect him, no emotion…just a pathetic scene on the sidelines and in the lockerroom.

    Mikie Benton???? Really? He was horrible this year…a walk on. That is why UK football is where it is, we are depending on this level of player because of his experience…let’s talk Faulkner or Lowery returning at safety.

  24. jack
    11:21 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    joker has to win atleast 6 games this year, if he wants to keep his job as head coach.

  25. Jonah Hex
    11:22 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    I know him personally and professionally. He is a good guy….

  26. Levi
    11:31 pm January 4, 2012 Permalink

    I wish people would get their facts right. Joker hasn’t been RC since he was promoted to OC.

  27. Justin G.
    12:01 am January 5, 2012 Permalink

    Hahahah….I love that our Joke of a coach, has to only win 6 games to make 1.8 million, and keep running this program into the ground! Talk about just sticking the dang thing in reverse. I have a billion times more respect for Brooks, then I do for Joker!

    Now, for the Cardinals, it is very fishy for them to be pulling in so many guys from south florida, especially when you consider all the stank that Clint Hurt has all over it. It is a bit different when one compares football and basketball. There is a lot more parity in basketball, while it takes a lot more in the way of funds and tradition to get going in football.

    Yet, UL does not really have to play anyone when it comes to the Big East, and we will all hear about how amazing they are when go 7-5 on the season, and have a shot and getting into a BCS bowl. We will see them frequenting the Orange Bowl, with WVU leaving.

  28. tyson
    12:07 am January 5, 2012 Permalink

    26 who said he was both RC and HC simultaneously? i said he was RC and HC, which he was. He was recruiting coordinator while he was offensive coordinator and HCIW. Now he is HC.

  29. bluesince66
    5:57 am January 5, 2012 Permalink

    Joker seems to be the only one on the team that likes Morgon Newton, so if Newton starts next year it will be worse than this past year. While Joker may not have been the RC as the OC you would think he’s telling the RC who he wants. The team was divided last year by Joker choosing Newton over Massakowski and I got this from a team member, so the problems are deep and I really don’t see Joker fixing it, look for anywhere between 2-10 to 4-8 at best this year.

  30. gacatfan
    6:37 am January 5, 2012 Permalink

    I quit reading the article when I got to the line “Philips is an outstanding coach” Only someone from Kentucky would write such fiction. Not a single team on our schedule would agree.

  31. King Nate
    7:26 am January 5, 2012 Permalink

    I live in Huntington and do not cheer for Marshall. I have had numerous people tell me this guy is not a good coach. I hear he loves to play his DB’s 10 yards off the ball on 3rd and Three.

  32. UKfanNKY
    8:56 am January 5, 2012 Permalink

    I love the support all you “SO CALLED” BIG BLUE FANS give. If you can’t support them or at least BACK THE BLUE then keep your stupid comments to yourself!!!! GO BIG BLUE!!!! I/we can only hope and pray that Joker turns this program around (if given a chance) and all of you eat crow!! Oh no, you will jump right back on the band-wagon won’t you……………………..GO CATS!!!

  33. gacatfan
    5:00 pm January 5, 2012 Permalink

    UKfanNKY, are you serious? No one in their right mind thinks Joker is an “outstanding coach”. Not even his girlfriend thinks such nonsense

  34. Dolfan66r
    1:38 pm January 6, 2012 Permalink

    Are you kidding me Mike Cassity? Thats who Joker hired? He has been run out of more programs than Jackie Sherill!!!