Phillips joins UF staff
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 3:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 5:06 p.m.
A former SEC coach and Eastern Division foe is the Florida Gators’ new wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
UF coach Will Muschamp announced Monday that former Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips, who has extensive experience as a receivers coach, has joined his coaching staff.
Phillips becomes the full-time replacement for Aubrey Hill, who resigned from Muschamp’s staff in August for personal reasons. Phillips is set to begin his job at UF on Friday.
“We are excited to have Joker join our staff,” Muschamp said. “His background as a head coach and the number of years he has coached wide receivers will be a tremendous asset to our coaching staff and players. Joker is obviously very familiar with the Southeastern Conference and has always done a great job in recruiting.
“Obviously, I had a number of experiences with Joker both on and off the field, as our paths have crossed often, but I’ve been really impressed with Joker Phillips as a man during this hiring process.”
Phillips has more than 25 years of coaching experience, including 18 as a receivers coach. He is a Kentucky native and former Wildcat player who spent the past three seasons as UK’s head coach. He was fired last month after a 2-10 season that saw the ‘Cats go 0-8 in the SEC. His overall record at UK was 13-24.
Phillips was UK’s first African-American football head coach and only the second in the history of the SEC.
“I’m thrilled to become part of the Gator family,” Phillips said in a UF release. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to compete and win at the highest level. I believe in Coach Muschamp’s philosophy and what he has done in his short time here at Florida is phenomenal.
“I’m looking forward to contributing to the long-term vision that he has for this program. In addition, it will be very rewarding to be involved in the hands-on development of the players I will coach.”
Before becoming UK’s head coach, Phillips spent seven years on the Wildcats staff under Rich Brooks, the last five as offensive coordinator. He also was UK’s recruiting coordinator for two seasons (2003-04).
In 2007, Phillips’ offense scored a school-record 475 points. The Wildcats also piled up 5,764 total yards, the second-most in UK history. He was named national coordinator of the week by Rivals.com after UK upset No. 1 LSU 43-37 that season.
Phillips coached two 1,000-yard receivers at UK — Keenan Burton and Steve Johnson.
Before returning to his alma mater as the wide receivers coach in 2003, Phillips was the wide receivers coach at South Carolina in 2002 and at Notre Dame in 2001. He also coached the wide receivers at Minnesota and Cincinnati.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UK in 1988. He played wide receiver for the Wildcats from 1981-84. He finished his playing career fifth on the UK receiving list with 75 caches for 935 yards and nine touchdowns.
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