KSR: One of the first acts as the head coach of the UK Wildcats were change's on the coaching staff. Were those moves made in the interest of recruiting?
Phillips: "Most definitely! It's recruiting and my comfort level, too. When I go out looking for a coach to put on my staff, I look for 1) A dynamic recruiter; 2) A good teacher; 3) Someone with the energy needed; 4) And someone with passion for the program – we call it juice."
KSR: Some onlookers at spring, who saw Rick Brooks observing spring practice took it as though Brooks was looking over your should and you weren't totally in charge Do you want to clear that up?
Phillips: "Rich is a mentor to me. We've actually put and office up here across from my mine when he wants to get away and a locker for when he wants to work out. We've got a great relationship. I think I'd be crazy to have that resource here and not use some of his knowledge, too. Now, does this program have to have my personality, yes? He's never called me to say anything but I've called him a couple of times to say here's what going on and what I'm about to do. And he never told me I don't think you need to do that. He not around for that – he's around because he likes Lexington."
KSR: Upon thoughtful observation, it appeared it was a classy move on Brooks' part to bring to public the necessary upgrades and amenities for this program to continue moving forward rather than you as a new coach coming in. What about that?
Phillips: "He understands that. It was important to him to go out and say that and not real good for a guy like me to come in asking for that. He told me he was going to mention that, which took a lot of pressure off me. He is a classy guy. That's why I was so emotional at the press conference talking about him. For him to do what he did and four years ago when we were at a function, he said to me you are going to be the next head coach at the University of Kentucky. I said yeah, right! He said ‘I'm going to make sure that happens.' It's not everyday that you'll find a head coach that will set up a guy like that, and for me to be a minority, too and for him to step up and say he needs to be a head coach. This is a foreign deal for a lot of folks"
KSR: How tough is it catching up to the powers in the SEC?
Phillips: "Except for Florida and Tennessee, we we've had some success. But we feel every game we go into, we've got a chance when we step out on that field. Our players feel that way and our fans are starting to feel like we've got a chance in every game."
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this two-part interview with head coach Joker Phillips.
Joker Settling In-Part 1 of 2-part intervew
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