Wildcat staff has Wildcat flavor

There's always been a school of thought that while athletes from the state of Kentucky aren't always the most talented, they would play harder just because they are playing for their state school. Could that same philosophy work with coaches?

There's always been a school of thought that while athletes from the state of Kentucky aren't always the most talented, they would play harder just because they are playing for their state school. Could that same philosophy work with coaches?

When Rich Brooks stepped down from the Kentucky Head Coach position after last season, everybody thought there would be changes made to the Wildcat coaching staff, but very few people knew which direction Joker Phillips would take his new staff.

Prior to this upcoming season, only Phillips himself and linebacker coach and recruiting coordinator Chuck Smith had UK ties.

The Wildcats brought in Mike Summers as the new offensive line coach and this summer, rather unexpectedly, brought in Greg Nord to head up the tight ends and special teams.

That makes four of UK's ten coaches as former players or coaches at Kentucky who have returned to their roots. In comparison, Rich Brooks' first staff had two coaches with Kentucky ties: Joker Phillips who started out as recruiting coordinator and wide receiver coach and Mike Archer, who returned to his role as defensive coordinator.

Archer, however, wasn't a Kentucky native. He had only coached at Kentucky before. Phillips, Summers, Nord and Smith are all born and raised in the Bluegrass state.

Each of these coaches expressed excitement about returning to the University.

"It is an exciting time for both myself and my family and we have looked forward to this for a long time," said Greg Nord. "I'm honored to be here and look forward to a great time here at the University of Kentucky," he finished.

Offensive line coach Mike Summers is son-in-law of legendary basketball coach Joe Hall. He coached at Kentucky as a graduate assistant from 1980 to 1981. Summers also expressed excitement about a return to UK.

"I'm so excited and energized about being back in Lexington," said Summers of his return. "I felt really fortunate that he wants me on the staff," Summers continued.

Chuck Smith, who joined the staff in 2005, has coached linebackers and was promoted to Recruiting Coordinator in 2009. Like Nord, Smith played for Kentucky under Fran Curci. He was a dominant coach at Boyle County High School where he led that program to five state championships in 12 years.

All of these coaches experienced some level of success at Kentucky, but they all want to see Kentucky make it to the next level. Their passion for their home-state university as well as their teaching abilities makes them qualified to help Joker Phillips lead the Wildcat football program to the next level.


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