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Joker Phillips fired as Kentucky football coach

Joker Phillips Joker Phillips will be removed as Kentucky head coach after this season. (Wesley Hitt, Getty Images)

The University of Kentucky will be searching for a new head football coach this offseason. In an open letter posted to the university's official athletics site, Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart announced that Joker Phillips will be relieved of his duties after three years in charge of the team. The change will take place at the conclusion of the current season, as the Wildcats have two games remaining on their schedule.

Phillips has endured an especially rough season in 2012, as his Wildcats went 1-9, including a 0-7 mark in the Southeastern Conference. The team plays Samford at home next weekend before concluding their season with a trip to Tennessee.

After much conversation, evaluation and prayer, I have determined that it is in the best interest of our athletics program to make a change in our football coaching staff at the conclusion of the season. I do so with a heavy heart for a man who has served his alma mater for almost 22 years as a player and a coach. Joker Phillips has carried the banner for the Blue and White with honor and pride. I have enjoyed working alongside him and am thankful for his friendship for the last decade. His concern for the entire program, his work and teaching of young people, his humanitarian work, and the friendship we all enjoy with him will long surpass the scoreboard. I want to thank him for all of those things on behalf of Kentucky.

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