Trustee: No talks on Joker Phillips' status

jsmith3@herald-leader.com jtipton@herald-leader.comNovember 26, 2011 

UK head coach Joker Phillips shown during the University of Kentucky vs. University of Georgia football game on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 in Athens, Georgia. Photo by David Perry | Staff

DAVID PERRY | STAFF

The chairman of the University of Kentucky's Board of Trustees said Friday that as far as he knows there has been no discussion by school officials about head football coach Joker Phillips resigning or being fired at the end of the season.

"I'm not aware of any discussions," Britt Brockman told the Herald-Leader. "There's no imminent change in Joker Phillips' status."

Brockman's statement came amid a week of rumors involving the UK coach's status and on the eve of the Wildcats' season finale against Tennessee at Commonwealth Stadium.

Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart has been unavailable for comment this week.

Kentucky is 4-7 this season, including 1-6 in the Southeastern Conference. Phillips is 10-14 overall and 3-12 in the SEC in his two seasons as head coach.

In early October, Barnhart gave Phillips a vote of confidence.

"I stand by the coaches," Barnhart said at the time. "We'll find ways to get better and keep plugging along. Nothing's changed.

"He's been here before. He understands what it takes to move Kentucky football forward. He understands what it means to compete in this league and how difficult it is. Right now, we're short of a couple tools."

Since Barnhart's statements, Kentucky has gone 2-3.

On Thursday as speculation ramped up about his job status at Kentucky, Phillips said he has had no recent discussions with Barnhart about his future.

"It's something we don't need to talk about," Phillips said.

When asked if he planned to resign after the season ended on Saturday, Phillips told the media: "All I hear is what I hear from you guys. I'm focusing on what the goal is and the last goal is to send the seniors out the right way."

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