Mitch Barnhart's 'Letter to the Big Blue Nation'

November 27, 2011 

Shortly after the University of Kentucky defeated Tennessee 10-7 Saturday to end the Volunteers' 26-game football winning streak over the Wildcats, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart released a "Letter to the Big Blue Nation" on the school's "Cat Scratches" blog.

Barnhart's letter, combined with comments made during Saturday's pre-game radio show, closed the book on speculation about Coach Joker Phillips' job security, which was rumored to be in doubt for most of the last week.

Here is Barnhart's letter in its entirety:

Today's victory reinforces the belief of Dr. Capilouto and I that Head Coach Joker Phillips continues to be the right fit to lead our football program. Although this season certainly fell short of our expectations, today we celebrate a victory that has eluded this program for 26 seasons. Congratulations to Coach Phillips and our football team.

As I do after each season, I will follow up on our regular, in-season conversations with a more formal and thorough review of all aspects of our football program and address any needs after that meeting with Coach Phillips.

Bowl games and a climb up the rigorous SEC ladder continue to be my expectation and markers of our program's progress. I remain confident in Coach Phillips, his continued ability to find and develop young talent and his plan to return Kentucky football to post-season play.

The Big Blue Nation has been very supportive of our football program as we strive to reach our goal of championship football in Lexington. Coach Phillips helped turn our offense around to what our expectation level is today and I'm confident he will do it again. Only with your continued support can we reach our dreams of celebrating our accomplishments together.

Til the Battle is Won,

Mitch Barnhart

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