We’ve covered all the positions from front to back, but there is one position that affects all the others and has a higher retention rate. Since 1999 Kentucky football has had four different coaches, with varying levels of success. Mumme’s Air Raid brought excitement back to bluegrass football and then left as quickly as a Tim Couch out route pass. Guy Morriss came along and if you take away the infamous “Bluegrass Miracle” (for which this writer was in attendance as a young freshman) he could have had an eight win season. Then Morriss left and the program was flung back into a state of disarray. Mitch Barnhart then made a coaching move that was bemoaned by many fans of the program in hiring Rich Brooks. Many screamed for both their heads while the program was mired in mediocrity and probation, but Brooks pulled the program through and established a new environment around the program and for the future. That time is now, entering a second year of the new look Cats in the Joker Phillips era.
Joker Phillips- Head Coach
Since starting in the business in 1988, Joker has been around the coaching circuit in multiple positions and the Kentucky grown product has returned to coach his alma mater. Charismatic and ever so cool, Phillips made sure not to come into his new position like a lamb and made some serious personnel moves, with a heavy emphasis on recruiting. His first year was less successful than hoped for, but his honeymoon isn’t over quite yet; he’s got another year to establish the system and a great staff around him to make sure the players are getting to where he wants the program to be.
Randy Sanders- Offensive Coordinator/ QB coach
I’ll look past the fact that he’s a filthy Volunteer, he coached Peyton Manning and has a national championship ring (in an “inside of a pumpkin” puke orange color) and was one of the best pickups Rich Brooks could have made. When the Fulmer battleship was going down at Tennessee, he was looking for anyone to blame and Sanders happened to fall in the crosshairs. It became Kentucky fortune, as Brooks snapped him up quickly after Fulmer fired him for 22 years of loyal service. But Kentucky QB’s have benefited from him greatly and even helped Andre’ Woodson become a Heisman candidate for 45 seconds.
Rick Minter- Co-Defensive Coordinator
The Nuclear Minter. While still incredibly awesome, the name has been repeated many times since his arrival on campus and will finally hit the Bluegrass in a few short days. This is the 12th team he has been a coach on, from the collegiate level to the professional and his knowledge base is enormous. His intensity is unmatched and his coaching experience has led to an aggressive, complex defense. let’s hope the winter is a harsh one.
Steve Brown- Co-Defensive Coordinator
He’s on this list because he is technically still a coordinator. His defense wasn’t that great, but he is well liked and respected among people in the program. Ask me how much I care about that….no seriously. I don’t care how well you’re liked, if you can’t keep an opponent scoring average below 20, you’re not well liked by me. Just waiting until he can find a new job, so hopefully this season’s D can help out his job prospects.
The Best of the Rest
Tee Martin- Wide Receiver coach/ Passing game coordinator
Dude’s a baller. ’nuff said. Recruiting genius and owns the same ring as Randy Sanders.
Greg Nord- Special Teams coordinator/Tight ends coach
Coming to the Bluegrass via Illinois, he was a Joker addition that strengthens recruiting bases in the Midwest.
Steve Pardue- Running Backs coach
He’ll have plenty to work with for the next few years.
Chuck Smith- Recruiting coordinator/ Linebackers coach
A Kentucky born former Cats player, Smith knows the school and the state. Has headed up a recruiting campaign that has produced a ton of great recruits.
Mike Summers- Offensive line coach
His job has gotten easier this year with all the experience on the line, but it was his work that laid down the foundation for this success. Has recruited very well in Kentucky and now has an SEC-competitive line.
David Turner- Defensive line coach
His seat is probably a little warmer after last year, but if he can cut down on the outrageous number of rush yards put up every Saturday, then he’ll do just fine