Will Muschamp announced today the hiring of ex-Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips as the Gators new receiving coach and recruiting coordinator. He was the head coach at Kentucky for three seasons from 2010-2012 taking over for Rich Brooks when he retired.
“We are excited to have Joker join our staff,” Muschamp said in a statement. “His background as a head coach and the number of years he has coached wide receivers will be a tremendous asset to our coaching staff and players.”
Phillips is very well known in Southeastern Conference circles starting out as a wide receiver at Kentucky from 1981-1984 where he caught 75 passes for 935 yards and nine touchdowns. After leaving Kentucky, he had a brief career in the NFL and CFL before returning to Kentucky in 1990 as a graduate assistant before being promoted to receiver’s coach.
“Joker is obviously very familiar with the Southeastern Conference and has always done a great job in recruiting,” Muschamp added. “Obviously, I had a number of experiences with Joker both on and off the field, as our paths have crossed often, but I’ve been really impressed with Joker Phillips as a man during this hiring process.”
Previously, he’s been an assistant at Minnesota, South Carolina, and Cincinnati as well as replacing Urban Meyer as receiver’s coach at Notre Dame in 1999. When Rich Brooks took over at Kentucky in 2002 he returned to his alma mater as receiver’s coach and recruiting coordinator eventually becoming the offensive coordinator in 2005.
The Kentucky offense flourished in Phillips time as offensive coordinator helping Kentucky to back to back 8-5 seasons and winning consecutive games for the first time in over 50 years.
After Rich Brooks announced his retirement Phillips became the head coach at Kentucky becoming just the second african-american head coach in Southeastern Conference history.
Phillips hiring is extremely important filling a slot left open since Aubrey Hill resigned shortly after the season began. Hill has been implicated in the NCAA violations inquiry at the University of Miami where he coached before joining Muschamp’s staff.
The lack of quality playmaking at the receiver position is the most glaring issue with Muschamp’s offense this past season and as they move forward. The hiring of Phillips is expected to be a good fit both for Phillips and the Florida team.
Phillips appears eager to get started and make his mark on the Gators football team.
“I’m thrilled to become part of the Gator family,” Phillips said in a prepared statement. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to compete and win at the highest level. I believe in coach Muschamp’s philosophy and what he has done in his short time here at Florida is phenomenal. I’m looking forward to contributing to the long-term vision that he has for this program. In addition, it will be very rewarding to be involved in the hands-on development of the players I will coach.”