There isn’t much to write about Kentucky football these days that doesn’t involve the search for a new head football coach. Mitch Barnhart’s letter on November 4th announcing Joker’s Phillips firing has set the fan base abuzz with rumors, opinions and arguments. Some can’t wait to see who the next coach is, others dread what they expect to be an uninspired hire. Right now the scuttlebutt seems to indicate that Barnhart is still identifying candidates and has yet to offer the position to anyone.
It’s disappointing if true, and indicates that Barnhart was completely unprepared to fire Phillips in the first place. One would think that once the team reached 1-6 or so, the Athletic Director would have begun preparing for a coaching search. Hopefully something is announced soon, because the longer it takes, the worse the options get for Big Blue. Here is a look at possible timetables for an announcement to be made:
Next Week (11/26)
This is the best case scenario, indicating that Barnhart went out and got Bobby Petrino and has no reason to wait for an announcement because Petrino isn’t working right now. It would be a bold and polarizing hire that showed Barnhart to have football’s best interest in mind and the ability to sell a coach on UK. Kentucky would gain instant respect in the college football world with the move.
Other possibilities: Butch Davis, Mike Belotti, Jeff Tedford
No reason to worry, it’s common respect to wait until a team finishes the regular season to announce that their coach is leaving. A decision after this point likely means that Kentucky is after a coach who is currently employed at either the collegiate or professional level. Recently UK denied offering the job to Cincinnati’s Butch Jones. I’ve been told otherwise but I would expect UK to deny everything until a coach is hired. Jones’ Bearcats have 2 games left in their season. So smoke could indicate fire, but I am by no means saying Butch Jones has agreed to coach Kentucky at this time.
Other possibilities: Sonny Dykes, Dave Doeren, Mark Hudspeth