Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 11/4/12
Joker Phillips used to run. It wasnt until he walked that he saw things as they really were. We once spoke about the strolls that he took around Lexington with his wife Leslie. When he ran, there were things he rarely noticed houses, trees things that came into focus on those walks. It was on one of those walks that Phillips got the call that he would be replacing Rich Brooks as Kentuckys coach. But what started with an energy and a vision for taking the Wildcats from the foundation that Brooks built and turning it into a program that could rival the monolith of a basketball team he shared a campus with is over. Phillips, 49, has been fired, athletic director Mitch Barnhart announced in an open letter on the departments website. A former Kentucky wide receiver, Phillips took over after Brooks left in 2010 and in his first season took the Wildcats to the Compass Bowl after going 6-7 and 2-6 in the SEC. It would be Kentuckys only postseason appearance under Phillips as they went on to go 5-7 with another 2-6 SEC finish last season and were off to a 1-9 start this year, including an 0-7 league mark. We, as coaches, are measured on results, Phillips said in a statement. We didnt get the results we had worked and hoped for, therefore change is needed. In my current 10-year stay at Kentucky, weve had some memorable moments as an assistant, coordinator and head coach. Weve had the opportunity to coach some fine young men and I am grateful to have had the privilege of watching them grow as players, as students and as people. His firing came one day after a 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt in which the Wildcats were outgained 447-260. It was the sixth time in the last eight games Kentucky, which is playing 26 freshmen due to injuries, had allowed at least 32 points. "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," Barnhart said in the letter. "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. There were certainly critics when Phillips was hired. One day after the Wildcats loss to Clemson in the Music City Bowl in December, 2009, Phillips got the call from Brooks that he would be resigning. Eight days later, Phillips was named his successor and while he had helped to revitalize the Kentucky offense as coordinator, he had never been a head coach. Phillips preached about an energetic approach. Enthralled with the military, Phillips discussed Operation Win before his first season, a mantra his wife coined that was focused on winning on the field, in the classroom and in the community. He brought fire to the job, but he was unable to recruit the kind of players to make the Wildcats a viable product in the SEC East. None of his three recruiting classes ranked higher than 13th in the conference, according to Rivals.coms rankings, and under his direction Kentucky slipped further back every season, going from 27th in total offense in 2010, 118th last season and 120th this year. Whoever succeeds Phillips Barnhardt says the school will begin a national search has his work cut out for him. While the Wildcats played in five straight bowl games from 2006-10 under Brooks and Phillips, it has made just 10 other appearances in 121 years of playing football. Then theres the matter of trying to keep up with the Jonses in the SEC, where East rivals Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee bring in blue-chip prospect after blue-chip prospect. Phillips had a plan, but was unable to bring it to fruition. Its now on his successor to try and take the Wildcats to the next level. And Joker Phillips can now go on those walks with his eye wide-open.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker