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January 18, 2008

Phillips will eventually replace Brooks at UK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky offensive coordinator Joker Phillips will eventually become the Wildcats' head coach following Rich Brooks' retirement, a person familiar with the arrangement said Friday.

The school has scheduled an afternoon news conference that will include Brooks, Phillips, university president Lee Todd Jr. and athletic director Mitch Barnhart, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity pending the announcement.

The 66-year-old Brooks has not set a timetable for his retirement. He will sign a contract extension through 2011 on Friday that will pay him more than $1.5 million a season, according to the person.

Phillips, who just completed his third season with the Wildcats, helped engineer a potent offensive attack featuring quarterback Andre' Woodson. He was born in Franklin, played for Kentucky from 1981-84 and spent three seasons with the Washington Redskins.

Phillips had been considered one of the top candidates for head coaching positions elsewhere. Before last year's Music City Bowl, which Kentucky won for the second straight season, Phillips was asked whether he planed to return to the Wildcats.

"I'm here now," he said.

Phillips and defensive coordinator Steve Brown are both black, the first time a Southeastern Conference team has had two black coordinators at the same time.

Phillips and Brooks have worked together to revamp Kentucky's program. Led by Woodson, the Wildcats have posted consecutive 8-5 seasons that included victories in the Music City Bowl. It marked the first time since 1951-52 the Wildcats made back-to-back bowl appearances.

Brooks is 25-35 in five seasons with the Wildcats and 116-144-4 in 23 seasons overall at the college level.

For more coverage of Kentucky, visit CatsPause.com.



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