Joker Phillips, wide receivers coach at the University of Minnesota the last two seasons, is in his first year as the receivers coach for the Notre Dame football coaching staff.
Phillips will be charged with the development of a talented, but relatively inexperienced receiver corps. Leading the pack for the first-year coach are big-play veterans David Givens and Javin Hunter, while former quarterback Arnaz Battle will see his first action at the receiver position. Also look for sophomores Lorenzo Crawford, Omar Jenkins and Ronnie Rodamer to have the ball thrown their direction this season.
Phillips replaced Urban Meyer, who was named head coach at Bowling Green in December 2000, following five years on the Irish staff as the Notre Dame receiver coach.
At Minnesota, Phillips worked under head coach Glen Mason and helped the Gophers to postseason appearances each of the last two seasons (Sun Bowl following '99 campaign, Micronpc.com Bowl following 2000).
He came from the University of Cincinnati where he served as defensive back coach in 1998 and wide receiver coach in 1997 under head coach and former Irish defensive coordinator Rick Minter. The Bearcats, with Phillips' young receiving corps leading the way, finished with an 8-4 overall record in 1997 -- including a 35-19 victory over Utah State in the inaugural Humanitarian Bowl.
A 1986 graduate of the University of Kentucky, Phillips began a nine-year coaching tenure at his alma mater in 1988 as a graduate assistant for the Wildcats. He took over as assistant recruiting coordinator in 1990 and was the wide receiver coach from 1991-96. During his six seasons working with the Kentucky receivers, Phillips coached Neal Clark, who set a then-Wildcat single-season school record with 47 receptions in 1991, and Kio Sanford, who set three Southeastern Conference single-season marks for kickoff returns in 1994. He worked under head coach Jerry Claiborne in 1988 and '89, then under Bill Curry from 1990 through '96.
Phillips also spent parts of three years working as an intern with the National Football League's Washington Redskins. He worked with the Redskins' wide receivers in 1990 and the team's running backs in 1992. In 1998, Phillips interned with the eventual NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, assisting with the defensive backs.
A four-year letterwinner at wide receiver during his collegiate career at Kentucky, Phillips helped lead the Wildcats to the Hall of Fame Bowl both in 1983 and 1984. As a senior in 1984 he had 28 receptions for 305 yards and five touchdowns. He finished his career ranked seventh on Kentucky's all-time career list with 75 receptions before going on to a brief professional career with the NFL's Washington Redskins and then the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts.
Born May 12, 1963, in Franklin, Ky., Phillips is married to the former Leslie Stamatis.
The Joker Phillips Coaching File
|1989||Kentucky (6-5)||Graduate Assistant|
|1990||Kentucky||Asst. Recruiting Coordinator|
|1993||Kentucky (6-6, Peach Bowl)||Wide Receivers|
|1997||Cincinnati (8-4, Humanitarian Bowl)||Wide Receivers|
|1999||Minnesota (8-4, Sun Bowl)||Wide Receivers|
|2000||Minnesota (6-6, Micronpc.com Bowl)||Wide Receivers|