April 6, 2013; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver coach Joker Phillips talks with wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (11) during the spring practice for the Orange and Blue Deput at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Joker Phillips Resigns from Florida as Wide Receivers Coach; Chris Leak to Fill Position

It surely was a surprising day Wednesday. We published number 80 on our countdown, which happened to be Joker Phillips. Now, we’re left scrambling for answers. Phillips resigned from his positions as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator abruptly Wednesday. Here’s what Phillips had to say in a statement:

“I’m thankful for the opportunity that the University of Florida and Will Muschamp provided to me and my family, but at this time I have decided to step down from my position on the UF coaching staff for personal reasons.’’ – Joker Phillips

Former quarterback and graduate assistant Chris Leak will take over Phillips duties. And needless to say, he’s ecstatic about the opportunity:

“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Muschamp has given me and my family. It’s an honor to be coaching at my alma mater where I have so many fond memories both on and off the field. We have a tremendous coaching staff, a great group of players and a support system in place and I’m excited to be a part of it.” – Chris Leak

Phillips spent only one year as the receivers coach and possibly is upset he didn’t get seriously considered for the offensive coordinator opening Florida had before they hired Kurt Roper. Now, in comes Leak who started four years as the Gators quarterback which included the 2006 national championship win. Leak is Florida’s sixth wide receivers coach since 2009. He’s got a lot of work cut out for him as Phillips paved the way for improvement by the WRs. Now we’ll see if Leak can help them better contribute on the field.

UPDATE (6/12/14 5:15 pm): Pat Forde and Charles Robinson of Yahoo! write that Phillips resigned because of a picture taken with him and a recruit during a “dead period”. The picture was turned into the NCAA by someone with ties to the Miami Hurricanes football program. Making contact with a recruit during a dead period is considered a major NCAA violation.

It’s ironic someone from Miami would turn in Phillips for a possible recruiting violation. Florida’s previous wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill resigned abruptly, much like Phillips, from the position as it became known Hill had illicit contact with recruits during his time at Miami. My, how things come full circle.

If more information comes about, we’ll make sure to get it to you.

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Tags: Aubrey Hill Chris Leak Florida Gators Football Joker Phillips Kurt Roper Wide Receivers Coach Will Muschamp

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