Gators add Joker Phillips to staff

Updated: December 3, 2012, 4:55 PM ET
By Michael DiRocco | GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp has turned to a former head coach in the SEC to try and fix the Gators' problems at receiver.

Muschamp has hired Joker Phillips, who was fired after less than three full seasons as Kentucky's coach, to become UF's new receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, the school announced Monday afternoon.

Phillips has spent 18 years as a receivers coach at five schools, including Kentucky.

"We are excited to have Joker join our staff," Muschamp said in a statement. "His background as a head coach and the number of years he has coached wide receivers will be a tremendous asset to our coach staff and players. Joker is obviously very familiar with the Southeastern Conference and has always done a great job in recruiting."

Phillips takes the spot vacated when Aubrey Hill suddenly resigned before the season began. Graduate assistant Bush Hamdan worked with the receivers this season. Unless he's offered a staff position at another school, Hamdan plans on remaining at UF as a graduate assistant.

Phillips, who went 13-24 in his tenure at Kentucky, has been a receivers coach with the Wildcats (1991-96 and 2003-2009); Cincinnati (1997); Minnesota (1999-2000); Notre Dame (2001); and South Carolina (2002).

Phillips, who was a receiver at Kentucky from 1981 to 1984, also served as the recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator for several seasons before replacing Rich Brooks as the Wildcats' head coach in 2010.

Phillips has to develop a position that has been disappointing for the past three seasons. The Gators' top receiver this season was Quinton Dunbar, who caught just 31 passes. UF's receivers combined to catch just 58 passes in 2012.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to compete and win at the highest level," Phillips said in a statement. "I believe in Coach Muschamp's philosophy, and what he has done in his short time here at Florida is phenomenal.

"I'm looking forward to contributing to the long-term vision that he has for this program."

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter