LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sports Network) - Rich Brooks has decided to retire after seven years as Kentucky's head football coach.
The Wildcats completed the 2009 season at 7-6 after a 21-13 loss to Clemson in
the Music City Bowl, which marked Kentucky's fourth straight bowl appearance
-- a feat never before accomplished at the school known for its basketball
"Rich Brooks changed the culture and the direction of the University of
Kentucky football program," said UK President Dr. Lee Todd. "He was willing to
take the heat and face the critics in the early years and build our program
the right way. His no-nonsense, high-integrity approach earned the respect of
his players, our fans and the media.
"It has been a pleasure having Rich as our football coach because I always
knew that whatever decisions he was making were in the best interest of the
program and his students. The university is grateful for his impact on our
program and for paving the way for future success."
Brooks took over a program burdened by the effects of NCAA probation and
completed his tenure with a record of 39-47, but the Wildcats were just 9-25
in his first three years before finishing with winning records in each of his
"Rich took a program from a very difficult time and raised it to
respectability on a national level, all the while doing it with dignity and
class," remarked athletic director Mitch Barnhart. "His toughness was a
trademark for the program he put together. The foundation that he has laid
will give those that follow an opportunity to experience success on a
conference and national level."
The school already has a coach ready to take over, as offensive coordinator
Joker Phillips was named Brooks' successor two years ago. Phillips played at
Kentucky from 1981-84 and has been a part of Brooks' staff since 2003. He was
also an assistant at Kentucky from 1988-96.
Brooks, meanwhile, compiled a record of 130-156-4 in 25 years as a collegiate
head coach. He spent 18 years at Oregon, guiding the Ducks from 1977 through
1994, during which time he turned a downtrodden program into a Pac-10
contender, ending his tenure with a Rose Bowl appearance in '94.
A two-year stint in the NFL followed, as he led the St. Louis Rams to a record
of 13-19. He was then the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons from