5 coaching candidates to replace Joker Phillips

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Yesterday, Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart announced that Joker Phillips will not return as the head coach in 2013, and Barnhart also noted the search for a new coach will start immediately.

Kentucky is a different kind of coaching job. The opportunity to win big isn’t there, but all the pressure of an Alabama, Florida or LSU also isn’t either. Kentucky just wants to be relevant in the SEC East and notch eight-win seasons. It’s the reality of the job.

Here are five candidates who could potentially replace Phillips at Kentucky:

David Cutcliffe, Duke, Head Coach
Particulars: Age: 58. This is his fifth year at Duke.
Coaching History: Click Here
The Buzz: Everyone in the SEC knows David Cutcliffe as the former Ole Miss head coach and Tennessee assistant for many years. He’s known for developing Peyton and Eli Manning, and he’s done a fantastic job at Duke this season leading them to a bowl game and a 6-4 overall record. Mitch Barnhart actually pursued Cutcliffe earlier in his career while at Ole Miss. Let’s see if he gets it done this time.

Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech, Head Coach
Particulars: Age: 42. This is his third season at Louisiana Tech.
Coaching History: Click Here
The Buzz: Sonny Dykes continues to be a hot name in the coaching buzz for open jobs. He’s been mentioned at Arkansas as having a possibility to go there, although that will not likely happen. Dykes orchestrates the second highest scoring offense in the country with 52.4 points per game. Dykes was a graduate assistant and tight ends coach at Kentucky under head coach Hal Mumme in 1997. He’s a Mike Leach protégé with an explosive offense. He’d be a great hire for the Wildcats and could make them relevant.

Butch Jones, Cincinnati, Head Coach
Particulars: Age: 44. This is his third season at Cincinnati.
Coaching History: Click Here
The Buzz: The Bearcats are 6-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big East this season with Jones at the helm. He was hired in 2010 to take over for Brian Kelly who left for Notre Dame, and he’s done a good job leading the Bearcats to 20-13 during his tenure. Cincy is relatively close to Lexington, at just over 80 miles away.

Mike MacIntyre, San Jose State, Head Coach
Particulars: Age: 47. This is his third season at San Jose State.
Buzz: MacIntyre has done a great job in three seasons at San Jose State, and he has his club sitting at 7-2 after their win against Idaho on Saturday. He has southern roots and has coached with the likes of David Cutcliffe and Bill Parcells. His dad coached the Vanderbilt Commodores back in 1982. This is name worth watching that could really start to get some momentum.

Kliff Kingsbury, Texas A&M, Offensive Coordinator
Particulars: Age: 33. This is his first year at Texas A&M.
Coaching History: Click Here
The Buzz: Kliff Kingsbury is the wildcard of the bunch because of his inexperience. He was at Houston with Kevin Sumlin from 2008 to 2011, and he’s leading the most explosive offense in the SEC at TAMU.  He’s a young gun in the coaching ranks and could bring an immediate level of excitement to the program and give the players a reason to be excited about Saturdays. However, this is likely a pipe dream and just the media making noise.  Kingsburry will be a big-time head coach one day, but it may be a little too early to go that direction with this hire.

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