Joker Phillips resigns, Leak to coach receivers

After just one season in Gainesville, Joker Phillips has resigned as the wide receivers coach at the University of Florida.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity that the University of Florida and Will Muschamp provided to me and my family, but at this time I have decided to step down from my position on the UF coaching staff for personal reasons,” Phillips said in a release by the UAA.

Phillips joined Will Muschamp’s in December of 2012 after serving as the head football coach at Kentucky for three seasons. Phillips was fired from his alma mater after posting a 13-24 record but had won over the players at Florida. “He brought a lot. Coach Joker is a real good receivers coach,” former Gator Solomon Patton said of his former position coach.

Phillips spent the past week working at Will Muschamp’s football camps and his contract ran through 2014. He came in at a time of uncertainty for the Gators. Former receivers coach Aubrey Hill abruptly resigned before the 2012 season, leaving Florida with a graduate assistant (Bush Hamdan — who has since moved on to Arkansas State) to coach receivers in the interim.

Phillips hiring in 2012 was considered to be a steal by Muschamp and the Gators. Being able to add a former head coach in he SEC as a position coach on your staff is a luxury any head coach would love to have.

“We are excited to have Joker join our staff,” Muschamp said in a statement following the hire. “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 departure is not good news for Florida but there is a silver lining. Phillips departure created a vacancy on the staff and Florida did not have to look far to fill it, announcing a promotion for Chris Leak.

Chris Leak will take over as the receivers coach at the University of Florida.
Chris Leak will take over as the receivers coach at the University of Florida.

Leak returned to Gainesville last season and served as a graduate assistant. Leak will take over as the receivers coach immediately.

Leak quarterbacked the University of Florida to their second national championship in school history in 2006 and left Florida as the school record holder in passing yards (11,213), completions (895) and attempts (1,458).

“Chris is a bright young coach,” Muschamp said. “He is one of the all-time Gator greats and being at Florida is very important to him. He has been working with Coach Roper and our offensive staff and is very familiar with our players and new system.”

New to coaching, this is a huge opportunity for Leak. He will now not only have to assume more responsibility on the field but also will be tasked with recruiting, something very new to him.

Leak realizes the opportunity in front of him and is grateful that Muschamp saw it fit to extend him the opportunity to prove himself on a grander stage.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Muschamp has given me and my family,” Leak said. “It’s an honor to be coaching at my alma mater where I have so many fond memories both on and off the field. We have a tremendous coaching staff, a great group of players and a support system in place and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Previous articleGainesville native earns Florida offer
Next articleRecruiting impact from Phillips resignation
Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


  1. ESPN is reporting Phillips was forced to resign over possible recruiting violations. Let’s hope it was at his previous job like the last receivers coach, Aubrey Hill. This is not good news with UF struggling on the field and not recruiting at a high level right now. UF moved up to 21st in Rivals with Jones’ pledge, but now there’s going to be some questions up in the air at a time when UF is bringing in players to camp. If anyone can find something positive from this situation, they need to start making it known.

    • Chris Leak gets a opportunity to step up and start his coaching career at his alma mater. It’s nice to recruit at a place where your face is plastered on the walls holding a national championship trophy.

    • What ESPN is saying he did was a minor violation and it has already been taken care of by Phillips being removed for the road for recruiting.