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Phillips will coach Kentucky's final 2 games

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky officials say that fired coach Joker Phillips will be on the sidelines for the Wildcats' final two regular season games.

The university announced the decision in a release Monday that also said Phillips will be available following Tuesday's practice.

After Kentucky announced Sunday that Phillips had been fired and athletic director Mitch Barnhart said the move would be effective at the end of the season, spokesman DeWayne Peevy later said that Phillips' status for the final two games had not been determined.

Kentucky (1-9, 0-8 Southeastern Conference) has lost eight straight games, including Saturday's 40-0 home loss to Vanderbilt. It was the Wildcats' worst loss to the Commodores in 96 years.

The Wildcats are off this week before hosting Samford and finishing the season at Tennessee.

The decision to have Philips finish the season is not unprecedented at Kentucky. Bill Curry finished the 1996 season after he was fired.

Curry was let go after a 1-5 start but stayed and led Kentucky to three straight wins and a 4-7 record before being replaced by Hal Mumme.

Phillips' presence will likely please a lot of the Kentucky players who have strongly supported him this season.

Freshman quarterback Patrick Towles has said the Wildcats want to play hard and win for Phillips. The QB also wants to draw fans back to Commonwealth Stadium, where Saturday's attendance was a season-low 44,902.

"We all love him," Towles said of Phillips after Saturday's game. "We want to win for the coaching staff, win for him, win for each other, win for ourselves, win for the fan base. We are trying as hard as we can to put positive stuff up there (on the scoreboard), but we just aren't doing that right now.

"We just have to trust that preparation so we can start to give you guys something to watch."

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