Ex-Cats

Joker Phillips, who got $2.5M buyout from UK, making fraction of that at Ohio State

Herald-Leader Staff Report

Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips smiled during his last practice as Kentucky’s head coach on Nov. 22, 2012.
Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips smiled during his last practice as Kentucky’s head coach on Nov. 22, 2012. palcala@herald-leader.com

Former University of Kentucky football player and head coach Joker Phillips was one of two veteran quality control assistants hired by Ohio State’s Urban Meyer during the offseason.

The other, Brian Knorr, was Indiana’s defensive coordinator last season.

Such moves, veteran coaches taking jobs traditionally designed for young coaches, is becoming more commonplace among big-time programs, Cleveland.com reported Tuesday. Only nine full-time coaches and four graduate assistants can coach during college football practices, and neither Phillips nor Knorr are in such roles.

“This is another bonus for the moneyed powerhouses of college football, the ability to hire veteran coaches into roles originally designed for young coaches on the way up. Coaches without jobs looking to stay in the game will take those assignments to tread water for a year or two, learn the secrets of a successful program, and wait for the next big chance,” Doug Lesmerises reported.

So how much do such positions pay? According to Cleveland.com’s report, it’s quite a step down from Phillips’ and Knorr’s past jobs.

Phillips, who has worked at Florida and for the Cleveland Browns since getting a $2.5 million buyout from Kentucky, is making $35,000 this season in a full-time position of “Football Quality Control — Offense.”

Knorr, who is in a part-time role of “Quality Control — Kicking” is making even less at $500 per month. He was previously Ohio’s coach from 2001-04 and was paid $365,000 last year at Indiana.

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