The head cat, Joker Phillips, has been traveling around the Bluegrass recently with his GAM3DAY READY Tour. The tour stops included Hyden (home of Tim Couch), Danville (home of Jacob Tamme), Central City (home of Patrick Sparks), and Louisville (home of a great deal of former players as well as crime and nastiness). Unfortunately, the tour did not stop in Winchester, but from all indications, it was a great success across the board. Hundreds of kids and adults showed up at each tour stop including Craig yeast (of Hal Mumme era fame) and Andre’ Woodson (of Stevie getting loose fame). I think it was a great idea for Joker to get out in the state to re-introduce himself to the fans and I think this was probably induced by the state wide tour of Coach Cal last summer. Once again, Cal’s fingerprint shows up on a University of Kentucky program he is not involved directly with. If the athletic department has learned one thing from Calipari, it is how to get the UK brand out there and how to promote the hell out of it.
The introduction of Joker as head coach has been an odd process. I attribute this, for the most part, to Phillips being named the “coach in waiting” by Rich Brooks and the athletic staff a few years ago. Not only has UK and it’s fans not dealt with a similar situation, it has only become fashionable to name the “coach in waiting” in the past 4 or 5 years through out college football. To me, because of the fact Joker did not have the giant introduction to the fan base and the initial “honeymoon”, the fact Joker is head coach kind of seems fake. I am sure it does not seem that way to the players who Joker put through spring practice or the guys enduring Rock Oliver’s “Rock Out” work outs, but I almost feel as if Joker has been cheated. Of course, I am sure Joker doesn’t feel that way. He has managed to avoid the normal hype and expectations that a brand new coach gets in their first year. There is some excitement, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t feel it the way I felt it when Rich Brooks was hired. The Nation was split when the “old man” from Oregon was hired, but there were not many who didn’t have an opinion on the hire, one way or the other. Over half of the “hard core” football fans I have spoken with recently seem to be in a “holding pattern” when it comes to coach Phillips. They saw what he did as coordinator during his time in that position, but honestly have no idea what kind of head man he will be. Personally, I think this is the most responsible way to go about it. No one has a clue what kind of head coach he will be in the Southeastern Conference, because he has never done it, obviously. Anyone who has an intense opinion, one way or the other, is simply guessing or has some sort of varying motivation for thinking the way he/she does.
I am all in! I would never think of wishing Coach Phillips and Operation Win anything less than over whelming success. I think of setting up shop in that Red Lot off of University everyday of my life. Nothing brings me more happiness than a long Saturday afternoon around Commonwealth with friends and family preparing for a battle on C.M Newton Field! Do it to it Joker! Go cats!