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Phillips hopes Orlando talk can lead to recruiting contacts


Since Kentucky is a Nike-sponsored football team, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips is expected to speak at two Nike coaching clinics this year.

He’s already done one in Tunica, Miss., and this weekend he’ll be speaking at the Nike Coach of the Year Clinic in Orlando along with several other college head coaches including Jimbo Fisher of Florida State and Bob Stoops of Oklahoma along with college assistant coaches and several coaches of state championship high school teams in Florida.

“I get to pick the two clinics I do so I went to Tunica because of a lot of high school coaches from Memphis go there,” said Phillips Thursday. “I chose Orlando because we want to get into that market in recruiting and it will have a huge following of Florida coaches.”

Phillips took his staff to the Nike clinic in Louisville recently.

“We made a presence there ourselves. I made the whole staff go Friday and Saturday,” Phillips said. “I will never do that (Louisville) as one of my clinics because that is one we can go to any way. I want to pick clinics across the country that will benefit us in recruiting.

“At Louisville, both (receivers coach) Tee Martin and (strength coach) Rock Oliver spoke. Rock did an unbelievable job and got all kind of people talking.”

Phillips says while he’s going to Orlando to speak to coaches, he’ll also interact with plenty of high school coaches as well as listen to what they have to say when they speak.

“I make it a point to interact. I go to all the socials, but I also go and sit up front and listen to the high school coaches talk,” he said. “You can pick up some little things just listening and the high school coaches do appreciate and remember when you sit up front and listen to them. That makes it easy to make connections.”

He still remembers going to a national coaching convention as a young assistant coach and seeing veteran coach Eddie Robinson of Grambling sitting up front with a notepad listening to a high school coach speak.

“Whey did he need to listen to some young coach? Well, he was trying to learn and trying to make an impact so it would help his recruiting efforts,” Phillips said. “I never forgot that.”

While this will be the last clinic Phillips speaks at before UK starts spring practice, it won’t be his last speaking engagement. And he plans to be back in Danville for the annual Kentucky high school coaches’ summer meeting even though he may not speak.

“I will make an appearance, but I will maybe send one of the other guys to speak,” Phillips said. “I would like to get Rock over there. It would be good for them to hear him. But I will still be around to shake hands and talk. Those are the coaches we will never forget or shun.

“The Nike clinics are bigger than the Kentucky high school one because Nike is a national deal, so you get coaches from Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and others who fly in for the clinic like the one in Orlando. But the Kentucky high school clinic is important and we’ll always plan to be there.”

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  1. Eric

    If I were Joker Phillips, I wouldn’t spend an ounce of energy trying to help the highschool coaches in Danville. They made Joker and Chuck Smith look like inadequate mid-major recruiters with the Lamar Dawson fiasco.

  2. Ben

    This is why Joker will be the most successful Football coach at KY if he is given the time to do so! You cannot change things overnight. He needs 10 to 15 years to really accomplish what Howard did at Louisville. We need to stick with Joker for the long haul, even if he has some losing seasons!

  3. Michael

    HE needs to bring Tee with him!

  4. Jim

    To Eric,

    How is a high school coach to blame for a kid picking an out of state college to play for? If you know for a fact that the plaer’s coach steered him to USC or bad mouthed a certain school, you might have a beef. As it is, the young man just wanted to go out west. It could have been much worse, imho, he could have went to UT. By the way, I read that a UL coach stated that they had no chance to get the young man. At least UK was in the hunt.

  5. gmoyers

    Eric, it is coaches from all across the state that come to the summer meeting in Danville, not just the Boyle staff. Joker does get it — and bet Tee is with him. This is also why UK’s Junior Day is Sunday, not Saturday this year

  6. Marion County

    Coach Phillips will be very successful at UK if fans and the administration give him a chance. There will be no one who will outwork Joker and cares more about the program than Joker.
    I only care about the kids who want to play at UK, not those who do not want to play there. The football programs success is in good hands in Joker Phillips. No fan cares more than him.

  7. Richard

    Uk should never waste time in BOYLE CO, go to Fla where the talent is, I cant wait until Boyle CO has a marginal player they want UK to take, And Joker and crew can tell them to get lost and go play for Lame Kiffin.

  8. Jim

    The term fanatic can be defined as a person whose enthusiasm or zeal for something is extreme or beyond normal limits. The thought of being anti Kentucky high school athlete in general or anti Boyle county athlete specifically falls into the fanatical catagory. So what if a KY kid shunned his home state. The whole ideal of raising the UK program to new hieghts is that a “star” player will shun his home state to attend the out of state school that is Kentucky. And, just because it is a no brainer for a “fanatic” to choose his home state school, if that marginally athletic person had been blessed with true talent when they were young, it does not mean that it is the same easy choice for a “star” player who has the option to play at any major school in the country.

  9. gmoyers

    Thanks Jim. Seems like the whole concept of the entire state coaching convention at Danville got lost somehow in this discussion that was merely trying to point out all Joker was doing to try and enhance recruiting everywhere

  10. jauk11

    Richard, what if that player really is a lifelong UK fan, and has the talent to help us. Dawson is old news, and I really think he made a mistake.

    I am sure glad Tamme and Aumiller chose UK. I love it when Kentucky players choose UK and contribute, but truth be known UK would be in even worse shape if all the good players chose to stay home.

  11. Tana

    Well-said, Marion County. Indeed, no one cares more about Kentucky football than Coach Joker Phillips, and no one will outwork Coach Joker Phillips. Also, I applaud Joker for speaking in Orlando this weekend and trying to make recruiting connections in Florida.

    Too, like you, I only care about the players who “want to play at UK.” Making those connections and getting more and more talented players to make that decision to come to UK should help Joker and this staff make the program more successful, as Joker himself and we fans so desire. By the way, I liked hearing how Rock Oliver did “an unbelievable job” speaking at Louisville, and may he speak and be effective in Danville, too. GO CATS!!!

  12. Tana

    I forgot to thank you for this football piece, Larry. While I also dearly love Kentucky basketball, the Kentucky football “season” truely NEVER ends for me. GO CATS!!!

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