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Let me start by saying I've only been on here since last month so this might be an old topic. But my being new on here doesn't mean I'm unaware of the mud this football program has been spinning it's wheels in for the last 50 years. Joker Philips was lucky. He has gotten a shot at his dream job at his old school. In different circumstances he might have succeeded. But as it stands it was a miserable failure.
I believe Joker has had the worst hand dealt by any other coach this snake bitten program has ever had. He followed as successful a head coach, based upon bowl appearences, as we've had in a generation or longer. But due to the state of Kentucky having a retirement age of 70, Rich Brooks was unable to complete the job. Can you imagine if Rich had been 52 instead of 62 when he came here? He'd still be coaching and building with 6-7 good years left to go. But in order to retain the momentum he'd began they named Joker to replace Brooks a few years before he left. Now, it can be argued old Rich did this as much for himself as he did the program. I'm sure he thought Joker would be a good choice. But Joker would have been better off going to some smaller school and learning to be head man on somebody else's dime. And Rich would have seen his momentum stopped by his inability to recruit with the uncertainty of the future of the program due to him being required to retire. Joker allowed recruiting to move forward keeping it from collapsing around Brooks.
But that's not the way it went. He stayed here. Then when Brooks rode off into the sunset Joker stepped in and the job was too big perhaps. Two poor quality recruiting classes doomed him. Now, it the classes weren't his responsibility he could be given benefit of the doubt right now. After all, he'd have had to had been a successful HC somewhere before he got the job back here and he would have some leverage. But, by staying right here he immediately got blamed. Every new coach gets a honeymoon with the fans. Not Joker. He started getting ripped right away. The man hasn't caught one minutes peace since he got the job, certainly since everyone but the game plan and a coaching staff showed up for the bowl game with Pittsburgh.
Joker needs to go. It's unfortunate. We just misused our best chance for a generation of continuity. He wasn't ready for this job at this time. He may grow into it. I think he could have. But the fans have given up and Barnhart can't let the athletic department's football revenue stream hemorrhage money from an eroded fan base. It embarrassing and sad. The program, Joker, and the fans have all lost a golden opportunity.
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