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Rick Minter has parting shots at UK for throwing out lifer coach and says expectations got too high under Brooks


While Kentucky coach Joker Phillips walked away with a smile on his face after his last game at UK, defensive coordinator Rick Minter didn’t exactly do the same and even offered some advice for the next coach — which is now Mark Stoops after the Florida State defensive coordinator was named head coach Tuesday.

Minter — who has been at 13 schools during his 35-year coaching career and was fired as the head coach at Cincinnati — noted that UK showed little loyalty to Phillips.

“I’ve been through what he’s been through, and I know how tough this is, and how challenging this is, particularly being an alumnus,” Minter said after Saturday’s loss at Tennessee. “You know, ‘this is my school,’ so to speak. Those would be his words, ‘this is my school’, and they threw him out. No matter what you say, they threw him out. And he can say he’s numb, but I guarantee you he’ll feel it, if he doesn’t already. It’s real. He’s just done a great job fooling you guys (in the media). It was a quick trigger, in my estimation. But nobody asked me what I thought.”

Minter, who indicated he would like a chance to coach in the NFL, said the administration has “been really good to us” and then noted how expectations rose to high — at Kentucky — because of the success former coach Rich Brooks had with four straight bowl appearances.

“It’s so unfortunate that perhaps over the last five to seven years, expectations maybe rose, and, of course you want to win – we all do – but maybe the perception was higher than the reality wa,” Minter said. “All of a sudden you don’t have a star quarterback like (Mike) Hartline, and you don’t have a Randall Cobb catching balls, and before you know it, you’re not moving the ball as well,. Then you lose a Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy, and you don’t quite have the forces to replace those guys just yet into your (defensive) system.”

Minter also had a few shots for Brooks.

“Just because he (Phillips)  was the coach-in-waiting doesn’t mean he made the decisions that made the program go,” Minter said. “When I was a head coach, I made all the decisions. He’s made them for two years and 10 games. He didn’t make them for five or six years just because somebody said, ‘Hey, someday you’ll be the coach here.’

“Rich Brooks made all those decisions until that one day when he walked in and said, ‘Hey, guess what, I’m out’. That’s when he (Phillips) started changing the staff a little bit and trying to change the culture to fit the Joker Phillips way. It wasn’t necessarily bad or worse than Rich, just different.
So those are the things that really disappoint us as coaches is that we didn’t have a chance to cultivate and grow our team to get more and more of those kinds of guys to where you start reloading like the other teams do, and not once in a blue moon you get a star and lose him, and all of a sudden you fall off the map.”

He said success at UK is “hard to sustain because stars don’t come around very often.”

“When you have them (stars), your expectations rise, and when you don’t have them, you get rid of the coach because he didn’t have any stars,” Minter said.

Minter called Kentucky a “tough place” to coach and blamed the lack of in-state talent as a major hurdle for any UK coach to overcome.

“You have to go outside your state, and to do that takes time to develop the inroads in recruiting,” Minter said.

He argued why give Phillips a five-year contract and then “pull the cord” after two years and 10 games as UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart did when he fired Phillips after three straight losing seasons and a 2-10 mark this season.

“I feel so bad for Joker, I really do. Because he was a lifer here, and he really was on the right track. I know people don’t want to hear that. And he has a great staff. And none of us wanted to go anywhere else,” Minter said.  “And when you hire the next guy, if he’s really good, he won’t stay. And if he’s really bad, you get rid of him, too. But you had a lifer here in Joker. Winning was the goal, and not leaving would have been his goal. So we hope the administration will use sound judgment and hire a great guy, and I hope everybody gets behind him and shows some patience.”

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/minter-has-parting-shots-at-uk-for-throwing-out-lifer-coach-and-says-expectations-got-too-high-under-brooks/


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  1. Russ

    You said all we need to know about him when you said 13 schools in 35 years, he breeds losing and doesn’t know how to win or he would not jump around like he does.

    1. LindaS

      Need a like button, I thought the very same thing Russ.

  2. P90XDude

    Rick Minter is a has been. He should just shut his mouth. His defense was atrocious. Who in the NFL would hire him? Yes Brooks brought good times to UK football. Joker was part of that success but bringing Minter in wasn’t one of them. All the staff that Brooks had was replaced by less than effective folks. So Minter just go on to retirement; glad riddance.

  3. Ben

    Minter, you were the one that let Joker Down! Joker was progressively getting worse! We honored his contract and paid him much more than he ever earned! This is a business and you produce or you are gone. Just that simple! Please just leave with dignity like Joker. We will not miss your defense, if that is what you can truely call it. Some people coach and other just pretend too! Go pretend somewhere else.

    1. Brad

      Ouch! That’s gotta sting. True though.

  4. TrueBlueJohn

    This seems like sour grapes from a coach whose unit went down to the worst in the FBS division. From a business standpoint, if something is obviously not working, you have to make a change. I was far more disappointed in the defensive side of the ball, than the offense. The offense was moving the ball until they lost Max Smith for the season, and were left with two freshmen. That side of the ball at least had an excuse.

  5. TrueBlueJohn

    I think that we will see what a real defensive coach looks like next year.

  6. john4uk

    If Minter or Joker are hired at any other D-1 or NFL program i will be amazed.Joker is best suited for Junior High or High School level programs,and Minters track record of being dismissed should be a wake up call and he seek employment in another line of work.

  7. BobbyBlue

    Come on…13 different jobs in 35 years..should tell everybody something about this guy.

    1. LoveSECF-Ball

      Reminds me of Petrino – I think he has had 14 jobs in 28 years.

  8. Juan4UK

    I have to say that I like Minter, believe in him. I liked the theory of his defense. I believe in time, it would have been successful with the right personnel.
    But for him to say our expectations are/were too high???? That speaks volumes about the underlying mindset of him, and maybe other assistant coaches.
    I will continue to support Joker. This was just not a good situation.

    1. LarryPup

      Juan4UK….theory or not Minter’s defense never stopped running backs from ripping off huge gains all year, or deep balls caught over Kentucky Dbacks who looked out of position constantly. The defense wasn’t all that good with Danny T or Guy really. I thought the defense went south when Joker demoted Brown and then fired him. It is just Minter’s feelings for Joker. He’s upset. I wish them all well, but something had to give and it did. New coach. Now we will see what happens.

      1. Juan4UK

        I tend to agree Larry Pup. I mean how many times have we actually had a team pass on 3rd and long and we decide to drop back zone coverage so that when their rec. catches it, there is nobody around as they easily cover for the first down. Very frustrating. His defense is designed to get the line backers all the tackles. Hence the huge numbers our linebackers have put up.

    2. grant

      are all thories proven?

  9. Anonymous

    Let’s try to remember my (1960 & 1961) coaches that they “threw out”.
    Blanton Collier who went to be head coach of the Cleveland Browns and won the NFL
    Don Shula who went to be head coach of Miami and had an amazing career
    Leeman Bennett who became head coach of the Atlanta NFL team
    Chuck Knox who became a head coach at 3 or 4 NFL teams
    John North who went on to be head coach at the New Orleans NFL team
    Jim Arnsparger who went to be head coach of the NY Giants I think
    Those are the ones I remember despite all the head knocks I got
    Mr Minter would do well to reflect on the above coaches and get on with it or change careers.

    1. Mr. Morals

      I will guarantee that this will not be the case with the majority of this coaching staff, although I wish them the best of luck. Joker may be ok as an offensive coordinator somewhere, but he has shown that he does not know how to take hold of a team and command their respect. I can remember several post practice press conferences that Joker had and you could hear the players screaming all kinds of garbage as they were headed to the showers. If these guys had respect for their coach, they would not have been carrying on like that while he was trying to give a press conference. I have been a player and a coach on some very successful football programs and we did not dare act like that in public, if we did, we paid for it in private with alot of up/downs, wind sprints, etc… I hope that coach Stoops is a hard core discipline guy, if he is it will be reflected in his players performance off and on the field.

  10. Claude Hoffmeyer

    Makes me look back at my days at UK Football and the coaches they threw out then:
    Blanton Collier who coached the Cleveland Browns to a NFL Championship
    Don Shula who went to be head coach of the Miami Dolphins
    Chuck Knox who coached several NFL fraanchises
    Leeman Bennett became head coach of Atlanta NFL team
    John North who coached New Orleans Saints
    Jim Arnsparger who went on to coach the NY Giants
    Mr Minter should reflect on that and get on with it or get out of coaching altogether

    1. larryvaught

      Great reply Claude and what a list of coaches you were around when you played there. Pefect comeback to Minter’s rant

  11. eddie

    how much more improvment to you need. i think minter defense was at dead last or near the bottom and 13 jobs in 35 years of coaching wake up rick you stink we had to go throgh qb’s like a gambler goes through money at a casino cause he thinks the next one is going to be a winner disgruntle employee is what i call him you did not say it but if you do not want to support next year’s team fine this is you’re choice but i do not want to be a doormat to the SEC anymore this football team has been kicked around way to many times and i for one am tired of it..but on the other side i do think joker should been giving the tools that mark stoops is going to be blessed with Facility Renovation and funds for his staff but that’s just me

  12. dailyminefield

    I think in time Joker/Minter combo could be successful. Once Smith went down I expected a bad year. But my problem was the play calling and in game management. Our 4th down percentage was horrendous. We were gonna get throttled anyway, why not sling it around and let these players learn, go for it on 4th down when it’s reasonable etc.

    Missing two 4th and Inches against UT, says it all. We tossed the ball 4 yds behind the line of scrimmage to gain 6 inches with an all SEC right guard.

    Minter can sing that *ish all he wants, and it may be fair criticism. But the games are mismanaged and that’s on Joker. If the playcalling is horrid on offense, take over playcalling and set Randy Sanders aside. If you know we’re outgunned with experience and talent, gear your playcalling around playing 4 down football all game long to get touchdowns. Quit sending your kicker out to miss field goals when it’s blatantly obvious we need to keep the ball, score touchdowns, and keep our defense off the field. Telling Morgan Newton two hours before we play UF that he’s gonna QB.

    I will give this staff credit, we have more talent and good kids. But the game management, play calling, etc was horrid. Any objective observer could see that. Mizzou, Vandy, MS State, WKU, Ark, UL are all winnable games and we win 0 of that group….I would like to see this group succeed as much as anyone because I generally think they were good people and ran a clean program. But Minter spouting off when these games were horribly mismanaged says more about him than the fans.

  13. Kentucky Packrat

    I always thought that Joker had no honor in forcing Steve Brown into “co-defensive co-ordinator”, rather than just firing him, and that Minter had no honor in taking the job in a stealth firing. IMHO, he has proven my thoughts in these comments.

    Minter is basically saying that we the fans were expecting too much. No, we expected more than you were capable of delivering, Mr. Minter. UK has good players, and you didn’t do your job of leading them to their best.

    Please don’t leave mad. Just leave.

  14. Ira

    Sounds like sour grapes afterall. I think he just didn’t like getting fired again. He has to go looking for a job knowing his stats are going to be out there staring him in the face as one of the worst D’s in the nation.

    I actually looked forward to his defense at first, but like every other Kentucky Defense they still struggled to get off the field on those looooong 3rd and 15. Seems like no matter what the other team could still get 17 yards.

    There is good news in this. The next D Coord gets to fix it. There is only one way for UK to go and that is up because UK’s stats are about rock bottom in about every cat as is. He’ll come out looking like a miracle worker, and be hired away in two years, if our D does keep improving, mark my words.

  15. lhw

    Let see, it’s wrong for us to have winning expectations. Minter may be dumber than I thought. I’m glad he’s gone.

    1. larryvaught

      IHW, you said it for most UK fans would be my guess

    2. LindaS

      need that like button again

  16. Old Cat

    Maybe we should have expected 1-11, then our sights would have been in line with our defense. Is 3-9 too much to expect next year?

  17. Jared_S

    Maybe Minter’s nickname should be JOKER as well

  18. Jim

    Instead of being bitter about Joker and the staff getting fired, he should feel remorsefull and tell Joker that he is sorry that he didn’t get better production out of the defense.

    Job performance can be measured in wins and losses and Joker did not win.

  19. Larry T Clemons

    WOW ! Can’t believe all the replies to this Story….UK has a New Coach, lets move on and support Our New Direction, don’t waste energy on the Past.

    1. LindaS

      need another like button

  20. Juan4UK

    I agree Larry T. , we should move on, this does not benefit they way we look as a fanbase. Move forward.

  21. Texascat

    Minter’s comments all translate to the Coach-in-waiting concept doesn’t work. I disagree with his implication that if a coach is successful here that he’ll go somewhere else. Kentucky position has never been a springboard to a bigger job. Bear Bryant left, but not for those reasons.

    1. LarryPup

      If coach Stoops brings UK success the admin. will have to match the offer probably to keep him. They will also have to improve facilities, recruiting room a must, etc. Also coach Stoops would do well to keep the C-J at arms length. They will write anything negative they can about UK football. They (C-J) don’t have to constantly throw UK’s past up in everybodys’ face. We all know the record. Kyle Tucker was putting out info on the 26th that Stoops had declined UK’s offer. His defense now is that somebody inside the UK athletics dept. told him. Now who would that be Kyle?

      1. LarryPup

        Does anyone out there besides me share my disdain for the Louisville C-J?

        1. UKFAN197TONE

          I prefer it to the the LHL; my hometown paper. But not much.

        2. Texascat

          Right on LarryPup. Been saying that for years. If Stoops is successful here, I believe it would take an Alabama-type offer to get him. Then I’m not sure there would be enough we could do to match his offer (kinda like Cal leaving Memphis for here).

        3. LindaS

          The CJ has gone down hill since the Binghams were forced to sell it. I don’t like it anymore and they deserve all the hate and lost subscriptions. I hate the LHL for the way the treat Ky Basketball with Fairy Flipton always finding something bad to say about them. I prefer this site!

  22. David

    Minter was critical of the coach in waiting theory and frankly I am too. By guaranteeing Joker the job, the thought was he could start the ground running and build on what Rich did.

    You need a honeymoon to get everything in place. If you are already in place you don’t need a honeymoon period.

    Joker didn’t get that time and should not have. Stoops will get more time because of he inherits a 2-10 team not one who won 6 games and went to a bowl game.

    As for Minter in general…good riddance.

  23. UKFAN197TONE

    Fans were expecting too much? UHHMMMMM, UK won toilet bowls, we fans were hoping for at least a bath tub bowl AFTER Joker was hired. THAT was not too much to ask for IMO.

  24. KenTuck

    When coaches have the mind set “Can’t make chicken salad out of chicken Sh*t” that attitude spills over to the players. Look at Vandy, do you think their coach would ever express that their players can’t play with the other guys. The Talent at Vandy may be getting better, but they have played above their ability with “Belief”. Successful Football teams at all levels have fostered the “belief” that they can play with anybody. Is it easier with talent, of course. But, expectations have to be high and no excuses sub-par performance. As the old coach used to say, “Winning is a habit, and so is losing”…

    1. Good Riddance

      Vandy is a decent football team because they only recruit smart athletes that will achieve and succeed in life. They no how to take direction to better themselves and are disciplined in all aspects of life. Some of the fools that are recruited in our program can barely read, come from broken homes, and have low I.Q.’s You can’t teach stupid.

      1. LarryPup

        GoodRiddance..I would like to see you walk up to Avery Williamson or Bud Dupree and call them fools. What gives you the right to trash our young men like that. Get over yourself.

  25. KenTuck

    The Stoops story and background is very similar to how Barry Alvarez came to Wisconsin. It will be interesting to see if he can have similar results. No matter what, it will be fun to watch.

  26. RJ

    If we do not have winning expectations, why play the game? Menter was a big part of the problem at UK football. “You don’t have stars every year!” It’s called recruiting and development. Something that he is unaware of apparently.

  27. shinny

    Please Mr. Minter just go on somewhere where they don’t care if your defense can’t ever get off the field. We could have had the great Babe Parelli but your defense would still be on the field! Guess what it’s really third and loooooooong oh no there goes another “FIRST DOWN”. You let Joker down not the BBN.

  28. Matt O'Riley

    What is the point of this story. Who cares now. We have a great new coach that was just hired, so bury the hatchet. All of the former coaches should be left alone to enjoy whatever they want to do.

    Lets look forward, not backward BBN!

    1. LarryPup

      Amen Matt!

  29. Walter

    Complaining. Gees.

  30. Bill

    One of the hardest things to do in life is learn from criticism from others. Minter is giving us his observations, maybe, some of them are truthful.

  31. coldspringmike

    Goodbye Rick, don’t let the door hit your _ ss on the way out. Hope your expectations are not too high for another job, because there probably will be none.

  32. grant

    c’mon vandy whipped us in to a pile of goo. could not score and could not stop them . is that moving forward? gimme a break. minter bitching about talent level drop offs? just who is supposed to go get the players? me? wow. and expectations? is that wrong to have? is it wrong to want to win more than the magical 6 game plateau and go to the tampax bowl. for god sakes. funny thing is about that 6 win margin is Uk has to count on 2 or 3 out of sec victories to get there so its not like UK has to beat 6 conference foes to get there. who knows how this will all play out , but 2 victories for any school should not be considered an expectation or exceptable by any standard.

  33. LindaS

    Do you think Minter has even earned any retirement from any of those schools? Was he paid off at each one when he left? Bitter old man.

  34. Andy S

    Safe to say Minter will be let go.

  35. Claude Hoffmeyer

    Texascat said above,”Kentucky position has never been a springboard to a bigger job”.
    Texascat said Bear Bryant got a bigger job. Texas A&M? He ended up at Alabama and that’s a bigger job. But the seven coaches they fired because Kentucky had declined since the Bear was there all went on to Bigger Jobs. And I didn’t even mention one of the greatest Kentucky coaches EVER at all levels, Homer Rice who came in after Kentucky threw out Collier et al won at the Kentucky HS level, college level at several places and his Cincinnati Bengal team he built won the Super Bowl the year after he left the Bengals. So you might not remember those events Texascat but Kentucky Football was absolutely a breeding ground for football coaches at higher levels. I hope they regain that reputation before I’m gone

    1. TrueBlueJohn

      Just a little correction, Claude, the Bengals never won the Super Bowl. They played in it twice, but lost both times.

    2. King Ghidora

      It was the Browns that Collier coached after leaving UK and it wasn’t the Super Bowl they won. They won the NFL championship but it was before there was a Super Bowl. The Browns were the real deal in those days. A guy named Jim Brown helped Collier win that title along with Browns owner and founder, Paul Brown. Paul Brown also formed the Bengals a few years later after being let go from the Cleveland job in probably the dumbest move in the history of sports. He was actually fired and Collier took his job but it was Paul Brown who built that team. Jim Brown wanted to hog the spotlight and became a thorn in the side of Paul Brown so Art Modell fired Paul Brown, a guy who had won a string of titles for Cleveland. That 1964 title was the last ever for any Cleveland pro sports team. Cleveland won so many titles in the 50’s the NFL almost went under. People got tired of seeing the same team win every year. Paul Brown built that team and he made the Bengals successful too. So I wouldn’t be giving too much credit to Collier. He basically gave the ball to Jim Brown and let him do his thing. That’s not my idea of coaching to be honest. I liked Collier but he couldn’t hold a candle to Paul Brown. Guess which one is now in the HOF?

      This area was Brown’s country before the Bengals came along. I followed that team a long time but I was an instant Bengals fan because of Paul Brown and because of the team being a lot closer of course. Still turning my back on Cleveland wasn’t an easy thing. They had been one of my favorite teams before the Bengals came along. Jim Brown was by far the best running back I ever saw. He did whatever he wanted to do. Too bad he wasn’t as coachable as he should have been. He would remind people of Randy Moss in today’s NFL. He was a great talent with a less than great attitude.

      1. King Ghidora

        Sorry I messed up when I said Paul Brown was the owner of the Cleveland Browns. He was the owner of the Bengals later on. Art Modell owned the team. Yes that would be the same Art Modell that moved the Browns to Baltimore without so much as a “see ya later” to the Browns fans who had supported the team through years of less than stellar play. Modell is not one of my favorite people.

  36. King Ghidora

    It’s “unfortunate” that expectations were raised by the success of the previous coach? Sorry Brooks didn’t lose 9 games a year for you there Minter. But we can be happy now. You have certainly lowered expectations again.

    That comment he made has to be the dumbest crap I’ve ever heard a coach say and remember I was a UK fan through the entire Tubby Smith era. Unfortunate that UK won too much. Now there’s something you don’t hear every day. Moron.

    1. King Ghidora

      Sorry but this is just too much. I can’t let it go. I have to say a few more things. First we should send Minter a thank you card for lowering expectations so much. He really did a marvelous job of it! But why don’t we hire him as head coach for a couple of years so he can lose every game and UK will be in a great position to be willing to accept any boring, losing, pathetic coach they can find! Hey UK could just keep Minter on and pay him to keep fans from actually expecting a good team! They did it with Smith. Why not Minter too?

      This is just too easy. I could go on like this for hours but I think I would be raising expectations too much about UK fans understanding that winning is actually a good thing. I wouldn’t want to be accused of contributing to the education of UK fans. They might never accept a pathetic coach who barely won 2 games a year ever again. That would be just terrible by the Minter rules.

      I really have to say that Minter just took the position of worst bozo coach at UK ever. Orlando is now off the hot seat. Smith did a great job of getting a lot of fans to accept that the days of UK dominance could never happen again. 12-13 losses a year were the norm. Now Cal has gone and blown that theory out of the water. It’s funny how certain talking heads never admitted they were wrong about their theories on “parity”. Those rules never applied to Tobacco Road teams of course. That’s just such a special place we should all be honored that they agreed to play in our league after all. UK should accept parity. Minter said it. Smith did it. Certain well known talking heads preached it. Someone needs to get Cal off to himself and sit him down and explain to him how he’s setting the bar too high and that UK fans will never accept parity again if he keeps getting #1 recruiting classes and winning national titles. UK fans are already a spoiled bunch. Lord knows we’ve been told we expect too much many times. It just can’t happen the way it did when Rupp was coach. Dang that Cal anyway. He’s ruining things for Duke you know. Just ask… UK just can’t dominate. It’s not fair to Duke. Go ahead and ask… He’ll tell you – 50 times a game even when Duke isn’t playing. Forget parity. UK should lose every game to keep expectations down so coaches can feed their families. Did you know Orlando was a great family man?

      This is TOO easy.

      1. Larry T Clemons

        ” Hey, you get plenty of Props and Accolades from Basketball…And, it’s gone on for Decades “. How dare you set expectation high for Football…Kentucky, you have enough Sports Coverage with Basketball… ( LOL ). King, I couldn’t resist, you made me do it…

  37. BigMike

    When 18,000 people show up on game day in a stadium that seats 70,000, you fire the coach. Plain and simple. I’m sure that the contract buyout for Joker was less money than the lost revenue from concession sales and parking fees the athletics department was losing on NO ONE showing up. So by Minter’s admission, he and Joker could take over Alabama after Saban leaves, go 2-10 and 0-8 in the SEC 3 years from now, and it won’t be there fault and they would deserve more time? No one has been unrealistic. You don’t have to dominate the SEC and win every game. Joker probably could have survived with a losing record this season. But you can’t lose to a Sun Belt team, at home, and before all the injuries happened. According to Minter, UK fans expecting to not go 0-8 in the SEC and losing to a team that hasn’t even been in the FBS for 10 years just isn’t fair.

  38. Larry Pup

    Coach Joker is a gator now. He will be coaching wide receivers for Muschamp. Good luck coach.

  39. roger walker

    I fell like 13 places in 35 years should tell you something . eliot has been on the job 35 mins. and already after good talent . you cant sit behind a desk at u.k. and think good talent is going to fall into your lap. we went from having a decent recruiting class under brooks which we should have built on to a lackluster 2 star recruits. you can not win here without 4 star and some 5 star recruits.

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