Joker Phillips needs to win more than anything else. But in the face of defeat, he certainly can’t afford to lose his cool like he did in the Louisville postgame press conference. He didn’t break script or turn a lot of heads, but Joker was visibly perturbed with the media and feeling the pressure of a Kentucky head coaching job. If Joker wants to keep his job, winning won’t be enough. He needs to maintain a composure that matches the dignity and history of Kentucky athletics.
Joker Phillips was practically belligerent with the media, challenging their questions, cutting them off, and always introducing “should’ve’s” into the narrative. Although he was certainly a targeted man after Kentucky’s second straight loss to rival Louisville, that’s still no way for the face of the program to behave. Poise under pressure is what he demands of his players, and fans and administrators should demand the very same of their coaches.
As embarrassing as the Wildcats performed on the field, their deficits were only physical and unintentional. Joker Phillips’ performance was perfectly controlled and only served to showcase the discipline and attitude of a spoiled child in the checkout aisle being denied a Snickers bar. He knows his job is at stake, and fans know it too. The only way for Joker to change that is to change what happens on the field. Antagonizing members of the media and putting a pouting face on the program won’t do a thing to help him.
As much as Kentucky’s recent struggles on the field speak to Phillips’ quality as a coach, fans should be more concerned about the way he responds to do-or-die pressure. If his players see him in distress and responding immaturely, they’ll become equally discouraged and immature on the field. Players take on the attributes of their coach, and Joker Phillips has been an awfully poor role model of late.
With everything already stacked against him, Joker Phillips simply can’t afford to sacrifice his composure too. Dignity and integrity are the only two things he has left, and he already lost most of that in his music video debut.
Filed Under: Football
About the Author: Corey Tincher is a lifelong Kentucky fan and professional writer who couldn't keep the two worlds apart. He is the lead contributor for StraitCats.com and literally wrote the book on the 2012 NCAA Tournament Championship run, Big Blue Articles: Kentucky Basketball in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Follow @Corey_Tincher on Twitter for more Kentucky news and discussion.