Mike Summers has made many stops during his coaching career — Texas A&M, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Louisville and Arkansas to name a few.
But no matter where Summers went, his heart was always back home in Lexington. Summers, a Tates Creek High School graduate who began his coaching career as a University of Kentucky graduate assistant in 1980, is returning to UK to coach the offensive line for Joker Phillips, the school announced officially Friday.
Summers, 53, spent the past two seasons as assistant head coach and offensive line coach for Bobby Petrino at Arkansas. He also was with Petrino at Louisville from 2003-2006.
Ironically, Summers helped recruit Phillips to Kentucky out of Franklin-Simpson High School in 1981.
"I'm so excited and energized about being back in Lexington," Summers said in a statement. "I've stayed in contact with (Phillips) and when I received a call from him, I felt really fortunate that he wants me on the staff. I'm here to do everything I can to support him. He has a great vision of what he wants for this program and a passion for wanting this to be a family atmosphere, and those are things that are very encouraging to me."
Summers' wife, Kathy, is the daughter of former UK basketball coach Joe B. Hall.
"He's always wanted to come back," Hall said. "This is home, and this is where his coaching career started. I'm obviously glad to have Mike back for personal reasons, and professionally I'm glad that UK will have his expertise."
In addition to Summers, Phillips announced the hiring of David Turner as the defensive line coach. This will be Turner's second stint at Kentucky; he coached defensive ends in 1993-94 under Bill Curry. Phillips also was on that staff.
Turner's first go-round at Kentucky represents just a small chunk of his Southeastern Conference experience. He spent the past three seasons as the defensive line coach at Mississippi State and has coached at Vanderbilt and Alabama.
Phillips cited Turner's prowess on the recruiting trail.
"He's been a recruiting coordinator in the Southeastern Conference, and he's recruited the areas, in addition to Kentucky, that we want to focus on: Georgia, Florida. We might jump into Mississippi junior colleges, and he understands those areas," Phillips said in a statement.
Curry said Turner, 47, has a special demeanor that separates him from a lot of coaches.
"He's smart, tough, yet has a wonderful spirit," Curry said. "That's a rare combo. He's tough enough that he can keep the hammer down, and he has that compassion that all great coaches have. I think he's a star in the making and I'm thrilled that he's back at Kentucky with Joker and that fine staff."
Summers is recognized as one of the top offensive line coaches in the collegiate game. Former Kentucky letterman Greg Nord, who worked with Summers as a graduate assistant at UK and coached with him at Louisville, called Summers "as good of a coach as I've ever been around."
"All of his guys are very technically and fundamentally sound, and his players all love him," Nord said. "He's also one class act as an individual. He's been an asset everywhere he's been, and I'm sure he'll be one at Kentucky."