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 UKAthletics.com 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.