Local News
12:26 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

UK's Phillips "Grateful" For Coaching, Playing Opportunities

Fired University of Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips says he hoped to have another season to get the program back on the winning track, but he understands that quicker results were expected.

Phillips, who came to the program 22 years ago as a player, then worked his way up the coaching ladder, made his first public comments Tuesday about the decision to replace him.

"I’m very grateful for all the opportunity that everyone around here has given me," he said. "I came here as an 18 year old kid, this place turned me into a man the first time. This time, all it did was strengthen me as a man, it gave me strength."

UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart announced the firing Sunday, the day after the Wildcats’ 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt, their first home shutout in almost two decades.

"This is a result-based business. You’re measured by that. We didn’t get the results quick enough," Phillips said.

Kentucky is 1-9 heading into its next game November 17 against Samford. Phillips will remain on the sidelines for the Wildcats' final two games.

Barnhart said the search for a new coach would begin immediately.

Some possible candidates who have been mentioned in the media include Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes, Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown and former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer.