A New Era

Christopher Johnsover 11 years

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Aritcle written by:Christopher JohnsChristopher Johns
jokerpress Two minutes. That is almost the amount of time that Joker Phillips loses his composure. On a day that is supposed to be all about him and his ascension to the highest position in UK football, the man can hardly speak for two minutes. All it took was an attempt to verbalize what Rich Books meant to UK football, to the state of Kentucky, and to Joker Phillips. Two minutes. From his statement that starts, "They (Coach Brooks and his wife Karen) have worked tirelessly to build this program the right way, " to the point when Mitch Barnhart slapped him on the back to break-up the moment, a blanket of emotion suppressed Joker's ability to speak. It was moving, it was heartfelt, and it was superb. The last few press conferences that introduced new UK football coaches had decidedly different moods. Rich Brooks' inauguration was the base hit after the Parcells game-winning home run that went foul. Guy Morriss was the team-favorite assistant that was anointed amid a cloud of probation and bad karma. Hal Mumme's intro had the "Who *is* this guy" vibe hanging all over it. Joker's introduction had none of that. It was just perfect. It presented a Kentucky native that remembered his love for the program he played for and now coaches. It showcased a proud man that understands the impact and importance of being a black head coach both in the SEC and at the University of Kentucky. It revealed a fan that, in the face of his own opportunity, is pained to part with a mentor that helped him realize his ultimate dream. That pain moved him to the point that he was unable to speak for almost two minutes. For what more can a UK football fan ask? No matter what happens over the next few years, this press conference stands as great moment in UK history. A great decision by an athletic director, a significant opportunity for a great coach, and a farewell to a new legend. It just felt right. Good luck, Joker. We're all rooting for you. Christopher Johns is a Kentucky native that still resides in the Lexington area. A 2000 graduate of the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics, he is currently working in the IT field for a large healthcare firm. You can contact him on Twitter or via email.

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2021-09-16