(Photo credit: David Carr… not the quarterback. Maybe.)
After finding out he would be dismissed as Kentucky head coach, Joker Phillips said he had no plans to get right back into coaching. But, reports today surfaced that he would be hired by Florida as a Wide Receivers coach, effectively immediately. I, for one, am happy for Coach Phillips. Things didn’t end the way he wanted them to at his alma mater, but he will continue to get a chance to do what he loves down in Gainesville. Here are some of my initial thoughts of the hire by Will Muschamp.
–It’s a great move. I’ve always loved the idea of former head coaches on a staff. Yes, they’ve failed at their former position, but that previous experience is invaluable. Whether you were able to do it or not, former coaches leave their previous position knowing what it takes to win. Stepping away from that situation allows you to reassess what worked, what didn’t, and how to make it work at the new place. The players benefit as well. Teams who have former head coaches on its staff always seem to be more disciplined (less penalties, less bonehead plays, good situational football). Having Phillips focus on molding Florida’s group of wide receiver could pay huge dividends for Muschamp in the 2013 season, not to mention the help it can have in recruiting.
–Florida will probably beat Kentucky next year. Regardless of what scheme change new head coach Mark Stoops makes, Kentucky’s personnel won’t drastically change from this year to next. Besides a few more additions in 2013 recruiting class and maybe even junior college transfers, the core is set for next year. Nobody knows that core of players better than Phillips, so he and Florida will attack accordingly.
–Phillips couldn’t shake the coaching itch. Coaching football is a way of life for Phillips. Initially, Phillips thought he wanted to take some time off to reflect and determine his next move, but he loves what he does, as anyone should, and decided against it. Shortly after his dismissal, Phillips told the media his goal throughout his coaching career was to not only make better football players, but make better men as well.
Phillips will now return to Commonwealth Stadium next year on September 28th as an enemy and not an ally. How weird is that?