Report: Florida to hire Joker Phillips as WR coach

By Adam Silverstein
December 3, 2012

UPDATED STORY: Hire of Joker Phillips made official

A report Monday morning from notes that Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp has decided to hire former Kentucky Wildcats head coach Joker Phillips as the team’s new wide receivers coach.

According to the website, Phillips will coach receivers while also handling “additional duties.” His hiring will be announced later in the week and he will officially begin working for Florida on Thursday.

The Gators coaching staff is currently out recruiting. It is expected to return to Gainesville, FL to restart practice on Dec. 14-15.

Read the rest of this post…after the break!

At 49 years old with 25 years of coaching experience, Phillips spent time coaching for five different teams with two separate stints at Kentucky.

After playing wide receiver for four years with the Wildcats (1981-84), two years with the NFL’s Washington Redskins (1985, 1987) and one year with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts (1986), Phillips decided to get into coaching.

He began his career at UK as a graduate assistant from 1988-89 and became the assistant recruiting coordinator in 1990 before taking over the job of receivers coach from 1991-96. He then went to Cincinnati and coached receivers in 1997 and defensive backs in 1998. Phillips followed that gig up by coaching receivers at Minnesota (1999-2000), Notre Dame (2001) and South Carolina (2002) before returning to Kentucky and adding the job of recruiting coordinator, which he held from 2003-04.

Phillips was promoted to offensive coordinator and held that position from 2005-08. In 2009, his job title was reclassified as “head coach of offense” as the school determined that he would be the successor for Rich Brooks. He took over as head coach in 2010 and led the team to a 13-24 record over the last three seasons.

The second African-American head football coach in Southeastern Conference history, Phillips took the Wildcats to a bowl in 2010 but saw his win totals decrease each of the last two seasons. He was fired after the first 10 games of the 2012 campaign but agreed to stay on and coach the team for the duration of the season.

Though Phillips and Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease both coached at Kentucky, they did not do so together. The two seasons Pease spent at UK (2001-02) occurred while Phillips was coaching elsewhere. Muschamp coached against Phillips once in 2002; the former was defensive coordinator for LSU while the latter was coaching at South Carolina. The two were also on opposing staffs when Muschamp was a graduate assistant at Auburn in 1995.

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  1. Tractorr says:

    Can’t complain about this one. At times Kentucky’s offense has looked good (maybe not this year but I think that was more of a talent level issue and playing against the SEC), his players liked him, and he recruits Georgia well.

  2. gatorboi352 says:

    Wow, nice hire if true. Didn’t see this one coming.

  3. Kebles says:

    Good for Joker! He’s a class guy and will be a great coach for Florida. Their young men in particular will come to appreciate having Joker Philip’s as one of their coaches. He’ll quickly become a leader, a mentor & an invaluable role model for them. Will Muschamp did good by getting him early, so he can start being an immediate asset to Florida.

  4. Basshole says:

    Great hire. I could see him leaving soon using this as a springboard to another OC/HC job.

  5. G2 says:

    Ok, yea….I guess?? Was hoping for the return of DD to G’ville but seems like a good hire. Definitely a huge position going forward.

    • Tractorr says:

      He coached Randall Cobb, Stevie Johnson, and Jacob Tamme all of whom are good NFL players. I will take him.

  6. Wpelfrey says:

    That’s a great hire for Muschamp and the Gators! Phillips knows how to coach receivers, the guy played the position in college, pros so that makes perfect since to get a position coach with head coach experience! Just like Billy D did in Bball with the hire of John Pelphrey( x Arkansas coach), this should be a huge help at developing our receivers( if he stays a while, which I doubt) but for the moment great hire!!

  7. g8ter27 says:

    This is awesome. Great for recruiting! Another coach with NFL playing experience at the position.

  8. npgator says:

    Great Hire! I think he will be great for the WRs and recruiting.

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