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NC State Football

Joker Phillips Named Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers Coach

January 27, 2021

RALEIGH, NC -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren has announced that Joker Phillips will join the Wolfpack staff as assistant head coach and wide receivers coach. Phillips boasts over three decades of experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, NFL assistant, and wide receiver coach.

"I'm excited to add Joker to our staff," Doeren said. "He brings a wealth of experience in the Power 5 and the NFL and is a proven recruiter, mentor and developer of players. He's worked with two of our offensive coaches in the past and will be a great fit here at NC State."

Phillips, who spent the past two seasons as the co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Maryland, was on the staff at Ohio State in 2016 when current Wolfpack OC Tim Beck was the co-OC. He also worked with current Pack RB coach Kurt Roper at Kentucky (2005) and at the Cleveland Browns (2015).

"I'm happy to be a part of the Wolfpack and I am excited about helping the team realize Coach Doeren's vision for the program," said Phillips. "I'm also looking forward to working again with some great friends in the profession: Tim Beck and Kurt Roper."
A former head coach at the University of Kentucky, Phillips has extensive experience coaching receivers, with stops at Cincinnati, Minnesota, Notre Dame, South Carolina, and Florida also on his resume.

In 2019 and 2020, Phillips coached All-Big Ten wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. at Maryland and helped the Terps' offense score 142 points in the first two games of the '19season (79 - Howard, 63 - #21 Syracuse), the most by a Big Ten team since 1936 (Ohio State, 1996) and the third most by any FBS team over that span. Demus ranked eighth in the Big Ten in receiving last season.

He went to Maryland following his second stint at Cincinnati, coaching wide receivers in 2017 and '18. Phillips helped the Bearcats to an 11-2 record and a win over Virginia Tech in the 2018 Military Bowl. Under his tutelage, wide receiver Kahlil Lewis ranked seventh in the American Athletic by averaging 4.3 receptions per game for 782 yards and nine touchdowns. He also coached the Bearcats wide receivers in 1997 and the Cincy defensive backs in 1998.

In 2016, he was an offensive quality control coach at Ohio State while Beck was the offensive coordinator.

Phillips spent the 2015 season as the wide receiver's coach for the Cleveland Browns and has developed 11 wide receivers into NFL draft picks, including Troy Williamson (first round), Randall Cobb (second round), Steve Johnson (seventh round) and David Givens (seventh round).

He served as the wide receiver's coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida in 2013 following three seasons (2010-12) as the head coach at Kentucky. He became the first coach in Kentucky history to lead the team to a bowl game in his first season (BBVA Compass Bowl), and he won more games than any first-year UK coach since Blanton Collier in 1954.
A Kentucky grad, Phillips spent 19 years coaching at the school between two stints (1989-98 and 2003-12). He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UK in 1988 and spent 13 seasons coaching the school's wide receivers, including adding offensive coordinator and head coach of the offense responsibilities. As offensive coordinator in 2007, he guided Kentucky's offense to a school record 475 points. That season he also helped the Wildcats defeat No. 1 LSU, 43-37.

Phillips has also had stints at Minnesota (1999-2000), Notre Dame (2001) and South Carolina (2002).

At Minnesota, Phillips guided All-Big Ten wide receiver Ron Johnson, who went on to play for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. In his year at Notre Dame, Phillips placed two wideouts in the NFL, Javin Hunter and David Givens.

Phillips returned to UK from South Carolina, where he coached the wide receivers under head coach Lou Holtz in 2002. Gamecocks newcomer Troy Williamson earned SEC All-Freshman honors that year and went on to become the No. 7 pick in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
In addition to his coaching, Phillips also is known as a highly effective recruiter. He has been identified as one of the nation's top recruiters by and

As a wide receiver at Kentucky, Phillips finished his career fifth on the school receiving list with 75 receptions for 935 yards and nine touchdowns. He played two seasons in the NFL with Washington (1985 and 1987) and spent one year (1986) with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He earned his bachelor's degree in advertising from UK in 1986.

Phillips participated in football, basketball and track at Franklin-Simpson High School. He was an all-state selection in football, playing quarterback and cornerback, and was an all-region selection in basketball.

Born Joe Phillips Jr., the native of Franklin, Kentucky, was nicknamed Joker as a baby by his grandfather to help distinguish Joker from his father, Joe Sr.
2021: NC State – Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers
2019-20: Maryland – Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
2017-18: Cincinnati - Wide Receivers
2016: Ohio State - Offensive Quality Control
2015: Cleveland Browns - Wide Receivers
2013: Florida - Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
2010-12: Kentucky - Head Coach
2009: Kentucky - Head Coach of the Offense/Wide Receivers
2005-08: Kentucky - Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
2003-04: Kentucky - Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
2002: South Carolina - Wide Receivers
2001: Notre Dame - Wide Receivers
1999-2000: Minnesota - Wide Receivers
1998: Cincinnati - Defensive Backs
1997: Cincinnati - Wide Receivers
1991-96: Kentucky - Wide Receivers
1990: Kentucky - Assistant Recruiting Coordinator
1988-89: Kentucky - Graduate Assistant

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