In an open letter to Kentucky fans, AD Mitch Barnhart announced that Joker Phillips will be relieved of his duties as head football coach in Lexington. This is a move that was warranted given the teams performance and perhaps a little overdue. Phillips released a statement soon after that continued to show that he is a man of character and class. His players have gone to social media to voice their support. Hopefully fans will stay classy as well.
Joe “Joker” Phillips is one of us. He loves UK as much as, if not more than, anyone. As a player/coach he has given 22 years of his life to Wildcat football. Before that he was a fan. You hear a lot of coaches talk about their “dream job”, well Kentucky was Joker’s dream job. And it’s a damned shame that it didn’t work out. Had Phillips been able to attain success in Lexington, he would have never left, unlike so many coaches looking for the next big thing.
So now that his fate is sealed, could we show some appreciation as Kentucky football fans? Piling on coaches, players and a program that got gut-punched accomplishes nothing beyond making Kentucky fans look petty and childish. Which in turn makes it harder to acquire a quality replacement and convincing kids with options that UK is a good fit. Like former WR coach Tee Martin said “If you aren’t helping it, you are hurting it.” So please, if you have nothing nice to say about Phillips, try to say nothing at all. He’s already out the door, there’s no reason to kick him.
In 2 weeks Kentucky will play their final home game of the 2012 season against the Samford Bulldogs. It has yet to be determined if Joker Phillips will be on the sidelines for the game. Hopefully he is, as finishing the season with an assistant running the team helps no one. Being the last home game, this will be Senior Night and Joker’s last game in Commonwealth Stadium. It would be great if the BBN lived up to it’s hype and showed up in full force to give everyone leaving a proper send off. (That means no booing as well) It would be a great advertisement to potential coaches that Kentucky fans care about football. It would mean the world to those seniors who have given their all to Kentucky football for 4-5 years.
Even basketball-centric KSR has started a #PackCommonwealth movement to get fans in the stands for Senior Night. Perhaps they found out that #OccupyCommonwealth was already taken by yours truly in the spring. For over a year, the BBN has been a house divided and this is a chance to heal and bring everyone back together for a fresh start. So let’s kick this new era in Kentucky football off right and support our players.