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The Right Decision Has Been Made


The time was right and the decision has been made. Joker Phillips will not be the coach at Kentucky next season. There were many that did not believe that would happen, but the time has come and Barnhart made the correct call in announcing it today. He released a long statement on the website, but the main paragraphs are as follows:

After much conversation, evaluation and prayer, I have determined that it is in the best interest of our athletics program to make a change in our football coaching staff at the conclusion of the season. I do so with a heavy heart for a man who has served his alma mater for almost 22 years as a player and a coach. Joker Phillips has carried the banner for the Blue and White with honor and pride. I have enjoyed working alongside him and am thankful for his friendship for the last decade. His concern for the entire program, his work and teaching of young people, his humanitarian work, and the friendship we all enjoy with him will long surpass the scoreboard. I want to thank him for all of those things on behalf of Kentucky.

The search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be managed internally. I understand the challenge and significance of finding a new leader for our football program. It will be done with great concern for our student-athletes, students of the University of Kentucky, the Big Blue Nation and the citizens of the Commonwealth. Kentucky Football needs to be and will be a championship contender in the SEC.”

It is sad that this happened, as we all wish it had been a different result. But it is the right call and one that had to be made. We will have coverage throughout the day here on KSR as we get ready for the next step in UK football.

Article written by Matt Jones

68 Comments for The Right Decision Has Been Made

  1. hersheyisabear
    3:58 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    A Championship contender in the SEC? right…

  2. Ashland
    3:59 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Good move, handled with class and dignity. Now lets get Mark Helfrich in Lexington. Go cayts!

  3. Billy G
    4:00 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink


  4. The Rumor Mill
    4:00 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Now I know why I saw Bill Cowher downtown last night.

  5. fireant
    4:01 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Completely expected. Joker is a good person to have on your staff but not the person you want running your program. Time to move on.

  6. Whatever
    4:01 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Well Matt you got your way, Joker was fired!

  7. BigBlue4u
    4:02 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I hope they go after Frank Solich from Ohio University

    4:02 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink




  9. Nash
    4:03 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Really! They will be a conference title contender…so national championship contender, he can’t be serious with that last line.

  10. Jokersajoke
    4:03 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Finally the misery will end. Now we can squeak out a win against Samford (I hope) in Joker’s last home game as Head Coach. Then reality sets back in and we get destroyed in Knoxville to put a fork in one of the worst seasons and regimes in UK Football history. There’s no where to go but up from here.

  11. DZ4UK
    4:03 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I heard Petrino bought a horse farm in Lexington. My buddy is n real estate and sold Donovan his horse farm in 2009

  12. Bob Sugar
    4:04 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Fire Mitch Barnhart.. It’s his fault. He struck out a long time ago.

  13. Rixter
    4:05 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    KSR, turn your clocks back. You’re writing from the future, and it’s freaking me out!

    By the way, Matt.. who wins the Colts – Dolphins game?

  14. Bob
    4:05 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Sonny Dykes!

  15. Boone
    4:05 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Was this post necessary? I believe Ally covered it…

  16. CPACAT
    4:06 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I saw Jim Tressel, Rex Ryan, and some guy dressed in blue getting out of a mini-van at the Pilot station in Georgetown…..

  17. jay
    4:07 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I hear Sean Peyton needs a job.

  18. wildcat502
    4:07 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    It makes me said that this has happened, but it was needed. Joker is an outstanding man who would have led Kentucky with integrity. He loved the University and would have stayed here until he retired, I truly believe this.
    I wish it could have worked out for him. Now, the University has to make the “right” hire. The new coach needs to be able to lead us to a competing team, as well as sale our program to the administration, boosters, fans and new recruits. I believe the hardest sale will be to the adminstration. Without that, no matter who the coach is, we will never reach a championship level.

  19. Rixter
    4:08 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    “After much conversation, evaluation and prayer, I have determined that it is in the best interest of our athletics program to make a change in our football coaching staff at the conclusion of the season”

    This must be how the Israelites felt when they saw the Red Sea begin to part…….

  20. Franks mom
    4:08 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I heard they called Ron Cooper.

  21. mlk
    4:08 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    free at last, free at last. thank god almighty, free at last

  22. Daboy22
    4:11 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    There is interest in a member or the Ryan family (they are from Ky and Buddy Ryan lives in Shelbyville)! They will contact Rob Ryan, who is the D Cord in Dallas. No joking…watch and see!

  23. mores
    4:12 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Joker is a good man and recruited and ran the program well off the field, but this needed to happen. Best of luck to Joker in the future and I hope he finds success in wherever life takes him.

  24. Whatever
    4:13 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink


  25. Rixter
    4:14 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    It just occurred to me, UK hasn’t fired a football coach since Bill Curry. Boy, we only fire the worst of the worst! But they’re all very nice men…

  26. Andy
    4:16 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    UK needs a young up coming offensive minded coach WHO will find a disciplined defensive minded guru to put our players in positions they can succceed. At least the cupbopard is not bare when the new Coach comes in considering most of these freshman already have some experience playing. Go for Sonny Dykes or if anyone can pry Mike Leach out of Washington State, that would be a good idea. I highly doubt Kirby Smart from AL comes here when Auburn and Arkansas will be knocking on their door. Long shot? – Chris Peterson from Boise – but ideal. I wonder if he would be willing to take a chance in the SEC.

  27. Bluecat
    4:16 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Hindsight being 20/20, the move should have been made last season.

    I do look forward with excitement to
    who the next coach will be, and hopefully he will be somewhere between Bear Bryant and Fran Curci.

    We have waited long enough. go for the BEST and hope we finally get one.

    Truth is STRANGER then fiction, GO WILDCATS!

  28. RealBall
    4:17 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    #8). If you get a hit between strikes, you get to start all over. HR#1 calipari, triple=Matthew Mitchell, and others

  29. BigWorm
    4:17 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    #25 I’m pretty sure they fired Mumme who was a prick

  30. istacy
    4:18 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Say what you want about Matt but he got it right and he may not have all the answers, who does? but I like listening to him and he speaks his mind and has through this situation, as far as Mitch goes he did it at the right time and I for one will make my first trip to CWS since last yr and support our boys and even give joker a hand for his time. For those of you that our concerned about the next hire, boys we are not getting some of the guys you people think, hell i would like to have Petrino, Tressel, or Kirby Smart as well, but think LSU or Alabama basketball, do you think Coach Cal, Coach k, Izzo, Williams, or even the up and coming stars in Stevens or Shaka Smart would go there to ruin there resumes??? Not saying we cant get back to 6-6, 7-5, maybe even 8-4 on a great year with a better leader because I believe we can, just sayin for some Nick Saban isnt coming through the “DOOR” Go Big Blue!

  31. Charlie Brown
    4:18 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Get ready all you former coaches past the age of 70 Mitch will be calling you soon so take your meds and be ready.

  32. Troy Aikman
    4:18 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    “Handled internally”. So no search committee or assistance for Mitch. This hire is completely in his hands and his job depends on the success or failure of the next football head coach. Period.

  33. Joe Buck
    4:20 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Mumme resigned.

  34. Quin
    4:20 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    #30 AMEN. Andy Reid, anyone? #BBN

  35. UK Admin
    3:21 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    We have an interview with Mike Leach tomorrow at 3pm.

  36. Eazy-E
    3:24 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Finally. Should have been done after last season. Now an entire year has been wasted, hard feelings against Joker have arisen, Mitch has further alienated the fans with his statements, millions have been lost in revenue, the program is at alower point than ever before. What a mess and Mitch is the main culprit.

  37. ukhat
    3:25 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    In 2008, Dabo Swinney was not a house hold name. Now he is my favorite college football coach. He’s young, energetic, passionate, he can recruit, he knows alabama, south carolina, and georgia very well. I don’t care if it’s a big name or maybe one we are not familiar with. But please don’t get some sunbelt coach. A top notch assistant from SEC/BIG 10 country is what we need. Swinney would only leave Clemson for Alabama, and definitely never UK. But get somebody with his enthusiasm. And like Swinney, get somebody who has proven that they can beat Spurrier and Richt, etc.

    Kirby Smart, Dan Mullen, Todd Grantham, Gus Malzahn, BRENT VENABLES, Luke Fickell

  38. Coach Phillips
    3:26 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Thanks BBN it has been a blast. I will not coach the remaining two game. Please support the team.

  39. barn
    3:28 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    why is homer rice shopping for a house in lexington?…hmmmmmm…

  40. Trevor
    3:31 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    The word in Arkansas is that they may go after Butch Davis from NC. Their alumni may have issues since he has baggage like Petrino. I agree that we need a strong offensive mind who brings in a strong Defensive Coordinator.

  41. Hoopster
    3:32 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Someone completely uninvolved with the program as it is now, national coach, not an assistant. Someone with a prooven track record of winning football games. Someone who knows a recruiting coordinator with ties to Florida, Georgia and Texas. Tired of this losing crap, if Vandy can win in the SEC, surely UK can. Open that checkbook and get us a FOOTBALL coach. Tressel, Petrino.

  42. J A Brooks
    3:38 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    How much of this is based on Mitch defending Joker one last time and even calling out the fans only to be rewarded by Joker getting beat 40-0 a few hours later?

  43. J A Brooks
    3:39 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    41) if one more person says Tressel they should be flogged. Dude is the dirtiest coach of the modern era and he failed miserably against SEC teams.

    Improvement over Joker? Yes. Sure fire way to get on probation or the death penalty? Also yes.

  44. Uncle Pappy
    3:43 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I am not the least bit surprised that the big chicken won’t do a press conference. He need to leave with Joker. What an ass!

  45. Andy
    3:45 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    no thanks to Tressel or Petrino- each have ethically compromised their situation so I highly doubt UK goes after them. We need to get Chris Peterson from Boise. He is a coach who has done more with less and he really knows how to coach the kids. Mike Leach is not a bad choice and discretions have more to do with discplinary issues rather than cheating and bad motorcyle driving. Otherwise UK will have to go to the NFL to pry someone from there.

    To those that are asking for Sean Payton – not gonna happen, he is suspended for the season not for life so he will be back with the Saints next year but he would be a heck of a coach.

  46. hellcat
    3:48 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    “managed internally”…oh oh looks like we are getting @#$ked again.

  47. old_school
    3:51 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Tony Dungy would be my first choice. Not sure it’s even feasible – but on this day we’re all tossing out our first picks.

    He has class, character, integrity and is a proven winner. Probably wouldn’t be infesting the program with rappers either.

  48. classof68
    4:01 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Get rid of Brainfart. Ask Mike Pratt if he’s interested in the AD job. If not, ask Papa Brooks, since Cal is in charge of the basketball program. And rightfully so. Brooks knows where the football problems are.

  49. Trevor
    4:14 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Chris Peterson isn’t leaving Boise for UK. Yes, we are part of amore high profile conference, but is that enough for Peterson? Sean Peyton will either go back to the Saints or to Dallas. He contract was void by the league office so he will need to negotiate a new one. He has a great relationship with the Saints ownership so I don’t see him leaving. If he does leave, it will be for Dallas. He lives in Dallas and has history with that organization.

  50. Trevor
    4:16 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    They really need a search committee run by Schnellenburger. (I know I misspelled that).

    Take advantage of the extra time to search before everyone else fires their coaches. The only one really out there now is Arkansas since John L. was a one year interim coach.

  51. DownCline
    4:20 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I like Joker, met him several times, but the right move. Really REALLY wanted this to work out and for him to be successful.

    4:26 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink


  53. Bamacat 55
    4:26 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Well that is the first step and good luck to Joker going forward. Now tomorrow, Mitch’s boss needs to make the same statement that a search for a new AD will start immediately as well.

  54. Linda Taylor
    4:32 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Hey Boone #15 Matt posted this BEFORE Ally’s post. Check the post times. That is how this site works, the later posts are at the top of the page.

    Thank goodness this is over. Barnhart did what needed to be done. Now I intend to pray like crazy that he will bring in the right person for the job.

  55. Mark Liptak
    4:43 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    The right call. Now don’t go “cheap” on the new coach. Hire someone with a resume and with chops. Then start to change the culture of the administration, facilities, the whole package regarding the program.

    Follow the wise advice that Howard Schnellenberger has been saying in public.

    Mark Liptak

  56. Beavis
    5:02 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Managed internally,,,,I suspect that means another one man search for a new coach. Time for Mitch to hire another loser.

  57. Boone
    5:10 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Haha, it is interesting how they switch the order of the posts. Matt’s post was about 15 mins after Ally’s if you actually followed it. They have been re-ordered. I do know how blogs work, but thanks for your instruction.

  58. Cutthroat Trout
    5:44 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Eli Capiluto….it is now time for you to make your heavy hearted decision to fire Mitch Barnhart!

  59. Steph B
    5:46 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Good Luck to Joker. Looking forward to winning some games in 2013.

  60. Linda Taylor
    6:16 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    57 – I was actually at the women’s volleyball game (they beat USC very easily) and didn’t see the posts until after 4:00 at which time Matt’s was before Ally’s. I’m sure he wanted to have some input even though his day was supposed to be so busy today (he said on his show that he was going to emcee the banquet for the Transy basketball team UK is giving).

  61. Boone
    6:39 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    60 I’m glad you were supporting our women’s volleyball. I was not trying to show you up in any way, but they clearly updated the order the posts appear. I was just making the point that Ally had announced Joker’s firing. If Matt wants to add to that, it’s his blog, I would appreciate his input, but all he did was duplicate Ally’s post.

  62. Linda Taylor
    6:54 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    61 -I’m sitting here watching my DVR recording of the Green Bay game and of course Randall Cobb is doing great. I hope the new hire gets things turned around and that some day when he is done in the NFL and has some good coaching experience under his belt our head coach will be none other than our own Randall Cobb. I can’t help but think he will eventually be a great coach when he is done playing.

  63. Boone
    7:12 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    Agreed! Go Randall!

  64. UKBlue1!
    7:18 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    This decision was obvious last season. In fact when Joker didn’t use Cobb in the last 5-7 minutes of the UT game his first season, I had a idea this wasn’t going to work out. He sat Hartline (right decision)but had a golden opportunity to put the ball in Cobbs hands 30 times in that game and didn’t. I think he had 15 touches. Last season he started off with a horrible loss to UofL after barely escaping against WKU. Thats when I knew this wasn’t going to work. Mitch however, makes a announcement before the UT game that Joker was returning. We beat a UT team that did not show up. Barnhart needs to go!

  65. jr53
    7:37 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    C’mon Matt you are better than that. To write the time was right?? Really? If this was mens basketball it would have happened weeks sooner. We lost so much time and lost coaches that would have committed to us, but as usual football just isnt a priority in Kentucky. I bleed blue, but we have lost so much time it has hurt our program, its players, and Big Blue Nation. Write the truth Matt as you usually do when it comes to basketball…..

  66. NCAA hater
    8:18 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    I met Mitch a few years ago and I knew then as I do now that he needs to go. He, like so many other untouchables in this little town, is absolutely full of crap. I don’t think a “prayer” will help this man in his decision making. Like the rest of us, he should rely on sound decision making and sound statistics to get him to his goals. I hope he is released as soon as the board can find a way to oust him from the almost certain crooked deal he made with Todd years ago

  67. jr53
    9:10 pm November 4, 2012 Permalink

    No.66 Agreed, with Mitch as AD we will never be revelent in football. Has not a clue just like everyone else on the board at Kentucky. I mean with what little talent we have there, now they can leave and I do not blame them. This is not a well ran program when it comes to football, its like a deer in the head lights.

  68. Koz
    1:44 am November 5, 2012 Permalink

    My vote is do whatever it takes to get Bill Cowher to come out of retirement. He’s never coached in college, which is a new challenge, and I know we can pay him more than the commentary gig. He’s got to be stir crazy not coaching. He’s only 55 and would be good for 7-10 years.