Barnhart says Phillips, Kentucky will part ways

Via an open letter to Kentucky fans, Mitch Barnhart announced that UK will not be retaining head football coach Joker Phillips next season.

“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,” Barnhart said near the end of the 933-word letter that was put up on Sunday afternoon.

“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.”

The dismissal said a search will begin immediately for Phillips’ replacement, but the coach will be retained until the end of the season. Barnhart said he search will be “managed internally.”


About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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One Response to Barnhart says Phillips, Kentucky will part ways

  1. Herb Elliott says:

    The only problem with this is that Barnhart will be the guy hiring the next failure of a Kentucky football coach. The University needs to allow someone independent from Barnhart to hire the next coach. The last two hires by Barnhart have been “friends” and from a realistic stand point both have been losers.