LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Even before Sunday's announcement, embattled Kentucky coach Joker Phillips addressed his job status following his team's 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt. It was UK's worst loss to Vandy since 1916.
The coach was asked if he was making it harder for athletics director Mitch Barnhart to keep Phillips another season.
"Yeah, we are," Phillips said. "No doubt about it. We're making it real tough on him. I understand how hard it is to fight through what we're seeing today."
The Wildcats have been outscored by Vanderbilt 78-8 over the past two seasons. Other than a 38-0 loss at Florida, Saturday's game marks the only other time this season the Wildcats failed to find the end zone. The loss dropped UK to 1-9 (0-7).
After the game, all the talk centered on Phillips' job status.
"Joker means a lot. He's our head coach," linebacker Avery Williamson said. "I like him personally, as a guy, outside of coaching. He's going to stay strong for us, so we're going to stay strong for him."
"It's just not a good feeling," quarterback Jalen Whitlow said. "You've got to love your coaches. We've got good coaches."
"We've tried to do this thing the right way," Phillips said. "We've come up with ways to keep kids in our program. We've put together some things that have allowed us to do that."
Phillips was asked if he deserves another year to get things turned around.
"That's not for me to decide," he said.
Freshman Patrick Towles insisted the Cats will continue to fight for their coach.
"As a player, we have no control of what goes on on top of the hierarchy. We're going to do all we can to win with coach Phillips, because he's our coach. We all came here to play for him."
"We didn't anticipate that we'd lose this many games," Towles continued. "We have to prepare and continue to play hard and put some positive stuff up on the scoreboard."
The Wildcats have a week off before playing Samford at Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 17.