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Joker Phillips Biography

University of Kentucky Wildcats head football coach Joseph “Joker” Phillips was born in Franklin, Kentucky on April 12, 1963. After a standout career as a high school quarterback complete with Class AAA state titles, Phillips elected to attend the University of Kentucky. Phillips converted to wide receiver for Kentucky and was a wildcat starter from 1981-1984. Following his graduation, he played two seasons with the Washington Redskins in 1984 and 1986 (with an interim year playing for the Toronto Argonauts of the UFL) before injuries forced him to retire and go into coaching.

Phillip’s assistant coaching resume at both the collegiate and professional levels is extensive. Following his 1986 retirement from the Redskins, Phillips served as a Kentucky assistant from 1988-1996; first as a graduate assistant from 1988-89 and then as wide receivers coach from 1990-1996. Following his Wildcat tenure, Phillips served as wide receivers and defensive backs coach at Cincinnati from 1996-1998, wide receivers coach at Minnesota (1999), Notre Dame (2000), and South Carolina (2001-2) before returning to his alma mater in 2003. From 2003 until 2008, Phillips served as wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator and, following the 2008 season, he was named coach in waiting and assistant head coach. As a result, he became the head coach of the Wildcats when Richard Brooks retired in January of 2010.

Joker Phillips
Thanks to Ted Mayer from Flikr.com for this great picture of Kentucky coach Joker Phillips and Georgia coach Mark Richt.

As Wildcats head coach, Phillips inherits a high octane offense-one which he helped create and manage-that averaged 460 yards per game and finished fifteenth nationally in points last season. However, despite the Wildcat’s offensive proficiency, their woeful defense leaves much to be desired and has need of significant improvement before Kentucky can hope to contend for bigger bowls. Moreover, despite Phillip’s wealth of experience, nearly all of it is offensive so it remains to be seen how effective his defensive reforms will prove to be. Ultimately, it is those changes that will likely define Kentucky’s season….and Phillip’s tenure as coach. You can read more about Kentucky Wildcats Football.

This Joker Phillips biography was written by SEC Sports Fan Senior Staff Writer Paul Grossinger.

To learn more about UK football, go to our current Kentucky Wildcats Football and Kentucky Wildcats Football history.

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