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What Price to Win?

The Cats lost their 4th game in a row and now sit at the mid-way point of the season with a record of 1-5. The team, while showing flashes of promise, has been decimated by injury and will have a tough time competing the rest of the year. So barring some miracle the Administration will be looking for a new coach for the football team with the search getting started over the next few months. With names and speculation getting underway what price will the university be willing to pay to have a successful football program? Would they trade the soul of the university?

2007 was a banner year for the football program.That year featured two wins over top ten opponents, college gameday debuting in Lexington, and a bowl victory. Despite it being one of the best years for the team they still finished with a record of 8-5. That year and the Rich Brooks era did something to the fanbase. They began to see that the team was capable of  going to bowl games and maintaining success. That Kentucky could once in a while go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the nation and walk out as the victor. The seasons of 2-10, 4-8, or 5-7 would no longer be acceptable as Kentucky could transition into the middle tier of the SEC.

The Joker Phillips era has fallen short of that standard. While he lead the team to a bowl game in year one he tenure will almost undoubtedly result in three straight losing seasons. However the deck was a bit stacked against our head coach from the start. Recruiting classes that dissolved. Exodus of talent. Poor Facilities. Bad decisions on the coaching staff. Following the best era of UK football in our lifetime. If the next coach is going to be successful things at the university are going to have to change. But how far will the university go to make those changes?


A Winning Coach with a Troubled Past:

A lot of fans are calling for Bobby Petrino to be the next coach. Petrino who has won at nearly every stop but has also burned every bridge and then called in a tactical strike on the area where the bridge once stood. At Louisville he interviewed for a another job in secret. After committing to our rival with a big contract he fled for the NFL. When he realized he wasn’t a good fit in Atlanta he left mid-season informing his players via letter. At Arkansas his mistakes have left that team in shambles and looking at a major lawsuit. While he has won all over the land Petrino has done about as much harm as he has done good. Is that a price we are willing to pay for a few years of success? Make no mistake, loyalty means nothing to Petrino and he would bolt for something else as soon as he got a chance.

And Jim Tressell is another name that has been thrown out. The 60 year old Tressell is currently out of coaching as a result of major NCAA violations that forced him to resign and hobbled OSU. While the violations may have not been the fault of the head coach he did lie to administrators and the NCAA during the investigation. If the Cats were to hire him they would have to deal with the show-cause penalty he is currently under. Is this a route that Mitch would be willing to go down? Tressel has won, yes, but Kentucky football hasn’t exactly been a bastion of NCAA compliance. If Tressell were to bring any scrutiny to the university the penalties could be devastating. If the football team were to penalized harshly every program at the University would suffer and the football team would not recover for a long long time.

This guys could win at the University but is their baggage worth the price of victory?

Improvements to Facilities?

Kentucky over the next few years will have the worst facilities in the SEC. Vandy currently has the worst but with improvements underway they will be passing us by. If the Cats are going to win going forward then they will have to make improvements. The team can’t compete with the other schools of the SEC with Commonwealth Stadium in the shape that the stadium is in. This January the future of the program will be in the hands of the president. Upgrades are necessary to bring in a big name coach and for that coach to bring in big name recruits. Look at what an upgrade and coaching change has done at South Carolina. They could be playing for a national championship this year or certainly in a BCS game. Can Kentucky reach that level? Maybe not. But they can reach the level of beating the Mississippi schools on a regular basis.

But will those improvements cost the other programs at the University? A monetary investment in football could possibly pull funds away from the pride of the University, Men’s basketball. The other programs are on the rise at the university as well. Women’s basketball, baseball, and rifle are on their way up. Moving funding into football could damage the rise of those teams. Will the other teams pay the price in order for the Football team to be successful?

The Future?

The University is at a crossroads. What sacrifices is the administration willing to make to try and build a winning program? Will they go after a coach that will bring baggage to campus? Will they cut funds from the Olympics sports in order to improve the football budget? Luckily the future does look bright. The team is stacked with great athletes and playmakers. The fanbase is ready to get behind a new direction for the program and it sounds like the university is ready to invest in success. How all that is going to play out remains to be seen.



Article written by Andrew Cassady

Follow me @ACassady_KSR

38 Comments for What Price to Win?

  1. imnotthefiveo
    9:08 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Just tear down commonwealth and build a dome a la Syracuse. Basketball would fill it easily. And all new facilities for football.

  2. Rixter
    9:08 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    How much does the vacant Proof Reader job at KSR pay?

  3. KyTom
    9:13 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    “the deck was a bit stacked against our head coach from the start.” STACKED? Most of those things were directly controlled by our coach. So, he innocently sabotaged himself. Well, here is another “writer” I won’t waste another 5 minutes on.

  4. MHFaulkner
    9:15 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    #2 – You said it. I don’t know if I’ve just noticed it today or if the weekend crew can’t work at the same level as the regulars, but the writing is pretty awful.

  5. BigBlueFan
    9:15 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    I honestly think that this program needs a true leader like a Jim Tressel. The guy was 9-1 against Michigan (OSU’s main rival) and he got to a BCS Bowl in 8 of his 10 years at Ohio State. He is the guy I feel could turn this program around. For the most part the scandal at OSU was not his fault. He recruits the best of the best and that is what we need here at UK. I mean how nice would it be to win 9 out of 10 against Louisville. Bring the Sweater vest here

  6. fatkidineastky
    9:16 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    # 2- LOL :)…Neither of those yahoos will be considered for the UK coaching position. there will be coaches vying for the position…it is an SEC school that has proven to be able to win with right coaches (Bryant, Curci, Brooks, Claiborne, etc.) and we can fill the stadium AS ALWAYS if the product is remotely competitive as proven previously…

  7. Catlogic15
    9:16 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    So, are you saying the future lies solely on a legislative initiative presented by Williams and blessed by Capiluto? Gee, bringing back Rich Brooks would work too, right? That tenure was after all the “best era of UK football in our lifetime”. Selling seats won’t hurt either.
    Showing on a continuos basis the picture of a beat-up Petrino serves no purpose but perhaps only supports an agenda supporting Barnhart. KSR does in fact appear to be a pawn.
    This post was convoluted.

  8. JDH
    9:21 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    #1 – I’ve always liked the idea of a dome. Basketball could play there too, so no need for a new bball arena or Rupp renovations. I say build a dome and kill 2 birds with one stone.

  9. capt
    9:25 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Hopefully they make a good choice. Hubert Cumberdale would be better.

  10. Will Totten
    9:26 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    If the University invests in the football program they way they should, money will have to be taken from some of the Olympic sport programs. If the athletic department invests the money the right way, then the money that a successful football team brings in will bring that money back, and then some, with a lesser risk of football failure in the future.

  11. BBN
    9:28 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Eli Capiluoto is not interested in improving UK sports and will refuse to approve a buyout of the remaining years on Joker’s contract. The most likely scenario is the UK administration will announce a plan for major renovations to the football facilities and bringing Joker back for a 4th year and provide him a contract extension. They will say that the upgrades will give Joker the tools he needs to compete in the best conference in the country. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if they also apologize to Joker for not investing in the football program sooner. All Joker needs to do is beat Samford and maybe Vandy and ride out the remainder of the season behind the team injuries.

  12. jka14
    9:28 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    5 days till Madness!!

    Less football talk, more basketball talk!!

  13. Hey
    9:29 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    What happened to the Cutcliffe post?

  14. WOW
    9:30 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    All you people complaining about the KSR writing should check out the “writing” over at a Sea of Blue…the crap over on that site barely passes as writing. And that guy Glenn Logan has his head so far up Joker’s and Barnhart’s a$$es that he winks at them when they brush their teeth. That site is total garbage.

  15. J
    9:35 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Tressell for sure!

  16. nassau65
    9:40 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Andrew- hang in there pal, not all of us have such a negative and minimal view your time and effort here. In fact, I thought it was pretty good. Thanks.

  17. Blue_Moon
    9:51 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Jim Tressel would be a HUGE get, and next to Saban, he would easily be the 2nd best coach in the conference. The negative thing he did at OSU seems like peanuts compared to what many other coaches have done. I say, If he would come. Pay him whatever it takes!

  18. jarshoe
    9:52 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Wouldn’t have either of them at UK. My money is on Phil Fulmer as our next coach.

  19. kramer
    9:54 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    To this day NO ONE has ever given a valid reason, beyond cheating on wife and doesn’t stay at a job long, to say why Bobby P should not be the first call Mitch makes. So he cheated on his wife, Pitino did the same thing, only with a crazier women, and he still is coach at UL. Every coach has said I am staying at my current job, while entertainig other job offers. UK probably isn’t a destination job to most coaches, but to one who has had big jobs and is trying to redo his image wouldn’t a few yrs of rebuilding a fledgling program be something fans could rally around? Who knows that coach may just decide to stay.

  20. catcard202
    9:56 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    The problem is that the UK Admin & The LEX Mayors office seem too narrow minded to be forward thinking!!!

    Remember Coach Cal told us all to think like Kings!

    W/ money at all time low interest rates & the economy still in a slow recovery…Instead of the current Rupp/Entertainment District for $250M, they should have spent $500M on building a 70000 seat multipurpose facility & entertainment district…Think a Lucas Oil Field for the BBN. That kind of facility that could have been configured for 35-45K for BB & concert events.. & 70K for FB…It would have brought the potential of an NCAA Regional tourney, more major concerts/activities/conventions…And would have given both UK MBB & UK FB the “gold standard” facilities in the SEC, in the country.

  21. bige
    9:58 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Need to look at Steve Farmer at U Lafayette Monroe to take over OC and/or the head job eventually.

  22. Yab
    10:01 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink


  23. Jim
    10:14 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    A few questions on Petrino. Why did he leave Louisville? Was he lured away by the dream of coaching in the NFL and the big money? Seems like I remember a coach we all know who did the same thing for an NBA contract. Maybe Petrino recognized it was just a dream and got out early without doing any more damage. Hard to blame him for that.

    At Arkansaw he made a stupid mistake. Getting envolved with a young woman does not speak well for his morals. But what if he has worked things out with his wife and family? Does that mean he should not get a 2nd chance at football?

    Maybe there’s other issues. Has he violated NCAA rules? Does he have bad relations with others coaches? Folks I don’t have these answers, but I do know he can flat out coach football. If you can’t answer these questions with truth, please don’t reply. Just asking.

  24. Hobbled?
    10:17 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Good lord… I am getting sick of writers on this site speaking about football when they obviously have no clue about the sport. Ohio State is not hobbled first off, they are 6-0. Yes, yes they cannot play in post season bowl games or big ten championship, however they are still winning. Petrino meant more to Arkansas than Tressel meant to OSU. Either would be a tremendously great improvement over “The Joke”.. It will never happen… Go get some up and comer who will be gone after 3 years of boosting his résumé.

  25. kramer
    10:21 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    As far as I know Bobby Petrino’s only problems were of moral variety not NCAA violations.

  26. chokecal
    10:38 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    How desperate is the UK fanbase when they want either of those coaches?? Is it win at any cost? lol you guys are truly crazy…you already have one shady coach, no you want another one???

  27. funny
    10:39 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    You say: “That year and the Rich Brooks era did something to the fanbase. They began to see that the team was capable of going to bowl games and maintaining success.”

    Then in the next paragraph you say:” However the deck was a bit stacked against our head coach from the start.”

    So let me get this straight. The guy who took over for “the most successful era of UK football in our lifetime” had the deck stacked against him? LOL. What a moron. Joker got to become head coach at UK in under the most favorable conditions possible. Every other coach had to come in to 1 or 2 win teams. This guy got to come into a team going to bowl games and bringing in at the time the best recruiting classes in 20 years.

    The players leaving, coaching staff decisions, etc are all things JOKER did.

    This is useless.

  28. STEVE!
    11:02 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    UK fans wanting Jim Tressel for our football coach is similar to Minnesota fans wanting Tubby for their basketball coach. Just because both were successful at the top programs in their sport does not mean they are great coaches and that their success will translate to lesser programs. The SEC teams that played Ohio State for the National championship gave them worse beatings than they did the lower level SEC teams they played those years.

  29. bosshogg24
    11:05 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Tressell is too old, need a younger man!

  30. logantea
    11:10 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    This is the most ridiculous statement: “Women’s basketball, baseball, and rifle are on their way up. Moving funding into football could damage the rise of those teams.”

    I’m all for non-rev being supported to and UK excelling in these sports, but Rifle would NEVER need the level of funding that could harm any improvements to the football team. With women’s basketball and rifle, we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars, which is nothing in the grand scheme of an athletics budget. In football facilities, we’re talking tens of millions.

    Andrew – please bring real, accurate arguments to the table when discussing the finances of UK athletics.

  31. Booger
    11:22 pm October 7, 2012 Permalink

    Joker will be back!!!! Great article today in lex herald!!! No coach has ever succeeded at UK really- so evidently the university needs to look at themselves 1st. No help at all

  32. mrhardwicke
    8:14 am October 8, 2012 Permalink

    hahaha–how could we ever take petrino seriously as our coach as long as that picture of him is still in existence?

  33. JayCee
    8:33 am October 8, 2012 Permalink

    32- we take Joker seriously. SO seriously, in fact, that we pay him 1.6M/year.

    Laugh it up. The rest of the football world already laughs at us. With Petrino, at least we’d be planting a foot in their ass as they laughed.

  34. SteveM
    9:01 am October 8, 2012 Permalink

    Until Barnhart is gone there will be no future to UK football. He has allowed the program to have the worst facilities in the SEC, just like he nearly destroyed the basketball program with Billy G. No self respecting up-and-coming coach with any kind of future would come here.

  35. BlueCat
    9:03 am October 8, 2012 Permalink

    23 my thoughts exactly.

  36. dimeforepps
    9:05 am October 8, 2012 Permalink

    Guys..we dont want Tressel…..I went to OSU and his conservative ways were wearing thin for Buckeye fans even before tattoogate….he couldnt beat the SEC with OSU level talent, why would he be able to with the players UK is able to recruit

  37. CatFaninFla
    9:20 am October 8, 2012 Permalink

    “To this day NO ONE has ever given a valid reason, beyond cheating on wife and doesn’t stay at a job long, to say why Bobby P should not be the first call Mitch makes.”

    If there is anyone in the world that you should be able to trust, it’s your spouse. Besides the fact that he betrayed his own wife and family?? Let’s see…
    — He gave preferential treatment in hiring his mistress to the football staff.
    — He gave an undisclosed cash gift of $20,000 to his mistress.
    — He lied to the police (and everyone) in attempt to dodge responsibility for his terrible choices.

    It’s not the fact that he left programs, it’s how he left.
    –He showed no respect to his own players, co-workers, or employers at any of the institutions. When he left the Falcons with three games remaining in the season. He didn’t even face his players in–he left notes on their lockers.
    — He is allegedly a bully toward his support staff.
    — He is not well liked by his previous colleagues. He burned bridges nearly everywhere he went, and when he had a good thing going at Arkansas, he burned that bridge, too.

    “As far as I know Bobby Petrino’s only problems were of moral variety not NCAA violations.”
    — Have we learned nothing? Let’s ask Penn State about whether we should look past morally repulsive behavior as long as there are no “NCAA violations.”

    Bobby Petrino has repeatedly proven himself to be a selfish, immoral child. He has betrayed anyone who has ever trusted him, including his own wife and family. Win or Lose, it would be an embarrassment to have him as the face of our program.

  38. schwing
    11:11 am October 8, 2012 Permalink

    how does someone confuse “these” with “this?” there is no letter “e” in “this.” are you spanish?