Joker Phillips firing: Kentucky AD says 'change is needed'

Andy Lyons

Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart said that a change was required for the football program, which is why current head coach Joker Phillips will not come back at the end of the season.

University of Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said that a change was needed when he announced that head football coach Joker Phillips would be let go at the end of the season. Phillips issued a statement thanking Barnhart and former coach Rich Brooks for their support, but acknowledged that things have not gone well in Lexington.

Phillips, who was a wide receiver for the Wildcats in the early 1980s, has been with Kentucky as a coach from 1988-1996 and 2003-2012. The team made it to a bowl game during his first season at the helm in 2010, but has regressed each of the past two years, culminating with this year's 1-9 record. In almost three full seasons in charge, Phillips has a record of 12-23, and only 4-19 in SEC play.

UK basketball coach John Calipari tweeted that he spoke with Phillips earlier, stressing that people simply wanted to win more, while empathizing with Phillips' fate.

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