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"Covering College Football Coaching from Miami to Honolulu"







Age:  67

School:  Kentucky

Alma Mater:  Oregon State, 1963

Conference:  SEC

Salary:  $1,075,000

Official Bio:

Years Coaching:  23

Career Record:  114 - 146 - 4  .432

Years at School:  5

Record at Kentucky:  25 - 35  .417

2007 Record:  8 - 5   .615

2007 Cost per Win:  $132,000




December 2008 Buyout:  $1,000,000


Year School Record Bowl
1977 Oregon 3-8  
1978 Oregon 1-10  
1979 Oregon 4-7  
1980 Oregon 6-3-2  
1981 Oregon 2-9  
1982 Oregon 2-8-1  
1983 Oregon 4-6-1  
1984 Oregon 6-5  
1985 Oregon 5-6  
1986 Oregon 5-6  
1987 Oregon 6-5  
1988 Oregon 6-6  
1989 Oregon 8-4 Independence
1990 Oregon 8-4 Freedom
1991 Oregon 3-8  
1992 Oregon 6-6 Independence
1993 Oregon 5-6  
1994 Oregon 9-4 Rose
2003 Kentucky 4-8  
2004 Kentucky 2-9  
2005 Kentucky 3-8  
2006 Kentucky 8-5 Music City
2007 Kentucky 8-5 Music City
Career   114-146-4 .432
  Kentucky 25-35 .417


Date Opponent Location 2008 CHS Prediction Result
8/31/08 at Louisville Louisville, KY W  
9/06/08 Norfolk State Lexington, KY W  
9/13/08 Middle Tennessee Lexington, KY W  
9/27/08 Western Kentucky Lexington, KY W  
10/04/08 at Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL L  
10/11/08 South Carolina Lexington, KY L  
10/18/08 Arkansas Lexington, KY L  
10/25/08 at Florida Gainesville, FL L  
11/01/08 at Mississippi State Starkville, MS L  
11/08/08 Georgia Lexington, KY L  
11/15/08 Vanderbilt Lexington, KY W  
11/29/08 at Tennessee Knoxville, TN L  
   Coaches Hot Seat Prediction   5-7  


Coaches Hot Seat Analysis

If anyone wonders how much college football has changed in the past 30 years just take at look at Rich Brooks record at Oregon during his first 12 years in Eugene:  12 years - 50-79-4 (.376)!  There is no coach on this planet that could survive putting up a .376 winning percentage over an extended period of years at a Pac-10 school today, even if Coaches Hot Seat didn't exist!  One of Rich Brooks best attributes is that he is a rascal in the best sense of the word, and his recent boat flipping incident on the beautiful McKenzie River last week and his nonchalant reaction to it was pure Brooks.  One would have to have a very good sense of humor to lose so many football games, and Brooks has an understated Mark Twain type approach to life that has put him in good stead in the coaching jobs that he has held.  Is Rich Brooks a great football coach?  No, but he is a fundamentally sound coach that knows how to hire a very good staff, and he fits very well at a school like Kentucky that does not get the best athletes compared to other schools in SEC.  That Kentucky does not have the talent of most of the teams in the SEC, makes Brooks last two teams at UK all that more remarkable.  The wins at Arkansas and over LSU in '07 were particularly eye opening and the hustle and grit displayed by Brooks' Wildcat teams have stunned everyone here at Coaches Hot Seat.


One of the most interesting developments in the offseason is the "a named successor on the current staff" to replace the current coach, and the Joker Phillips to replace Rich Brooks is an agreement that really stands out from the others (Purdue and Florida State).  Rich Brooks is in good health, but it did surprise us that Kentucky would extend Brooks through the 2011 season, with Phillips taking over in 2012.  Brooks has stated his desire to be the "longest-tenured" coach in Kentucky history, which coaching through 2011 would give him, but the idea that the Kentucky AD, Rich Brooks, Joker Phillips, or anyone else on this planet can predict what the world will look like 4 years from now defies belief.  In a world that is moving at an ever increasing speed, looking out a year from now seems way out into the future, but 4 years for a top offensive coordinator like Joker Phillips to wait to get a head coaching job?  With the fragile nature of our lives, that sure seems like a long time to us.  Now Joker Phillips is one of best assistant coaches in the game, and his offensive playcalling has been very good in the past couple of years (a very good QB didn't hurt either) and Phillips would have no doubt been a hot commodity in the coming years if Kentucky had not locked him down for the head coaching job.  By all accounts the Franklin, Kentucky native Phillips loves the University of Kentucky and he is content to stay in the offensive coordinator position, but from where we sit it seems to us that having a designated successor sitting there for so long waiting for the top job to open up is pushing the envelope.  Yes, there have been many instances in the business world where successors have been named, but we cannot recall one where the successor was known so far in advance.  Probably the most famous corporate handover was GE's Jack Welch tapping Jeff Immelt to replace him in the CEO/Chairman's position, but Welch waited until he was in his final year of work to announce Immelt's promotion.  A current high profile CEO that is now auditioning potential replacements is Warren Buffett for someone to take over for him at Berkshire Hathaway, but even though a lot of people believe that the person that will replace Buffett is critical to the future of Berkshire, Buffett has not identified who is on the short list, at least to the investing public.


As for Rich Brooks in his last 4 years of coaching, his biggest challenge will be to continue to pick up players that are diamonds in the rough, that the top SEC schools to the south and Big Ten schools to the north are passing on, and get a handful of blue chippers each year.  Without an increasing level of recruiting in the coming years Kentucky could meander around the .500 level for the foreseeable future, and we cannot imagine that is the kind of program Brooks wants to turn over to Phillips. 


Coaches Hot Seat Bottom Line

We predict that Rich Brooks and Kentucky will have a 5-7 record in 2008.  Kentucky is coming off two straight 8-5 seasons and even though the talent level will drop a little for the Wildcats in '08, the expectations have not.  Kentucky kicks off one of the best opening game rivalries in the game to start the '08 season, with a trip to Louisville to play the Cardinals.  Louisville gave this game away in '07 with some very sloppy defensive back play, and Steve Kragthorpe will most certainly want to get a win in this game very badly.  The Louisville crowd will be fired up, the Cardinal football team will be flying all over the field, but we have a sneaking suspicion that Kentucky is going to find a way to get a win in this game.  After one game, Kentucky is 1-0.  In week 2 Norfolk State visits Lexington and that should be an easy win for UK.  After two games, Kentucky is 2-0.  Middle Tennessee travels to Lexington in week 3 and this will be a very tough game for Kentucky if they are not focused.  MTSU has been improving under 3rd year coach Rick Stockstill and they will be looking to shock a SEC team in UK, and we think this will be a very close game with Kentucky winning in the 4th quarter.  After three games, UK is 3-0.  Newly minted I-A team Western Kentucky plays Kentucky in Lexington in week 5 and this is another very interesting game that we will be keeping a close eye on.  WKU had a very respectful first year in I-A in '07 and they look like the type of team that will only get better as the years go by.  In a 14 or so point win, we see Kentucky getting a win in this game to run their record to 4-0.  The SEC slate begins in a big way in week 5 with a trip to Tuscaloosa to play Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.  Alabama is a very tough place to play at, but teams that are able to handle the initial push by the Tide fans, have a chance to stay in the game until the end.  Kentucky probably does not have enough talent to stay with the team that Saban will field in '08, and a loss to the Tide will give Kentucky their first loss of the year.  After five games, Kentucky is 4-1.  Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks come calling in Lexington in week 6 and we have to imagine that Spurrier will have South Carolina playing at least a little better in '08.  In what should be a very close SEC game, we see USC getting the win, which drops the Kentucky record to 4-2.  Bobby Petrino brings his new Arkansas team to Kentucky in week 7, and we think the Hogs offense under Petrino will start clicking by this time of the season.  In another close SEC game, we see Arkansas getting the win, which drops the UK record to 4-3.  After three straight losses, Kentucky has to travel to Gainesville in week 8, and the Gators no doubt will be shooting for the SEC title and much more in '08.  Florida and the Gator fans in The Swamp will be too much for the Wildcats in this game, and another loss will drop the UK record to 4-4.  After four straight losses, another SEC road game is on the docket with a trip to play Sly Croom's Mississippi State Bulldogs.  Sly has done more with less than any football coach in the country in the last 5 years, and Miss. State will have too much for the Wildcats in this game.  A loss to the Bulldogs drops the UK record to 4-5.  There are a handful of big potential road upsets in the SEC in '08, and Georgia traveling to Kentucky is one of those games.  Georgia will probably be on a run to the SEC Championship Game, so this game will have a heightened importance for the Bulldogs, and in a closer game than expected we see UGA getting the win in this spot.  After 10 games, UK is 4-6.  Vanderbilt visits Lexington in week 11 and this is one of the most even matchups talent wise of the year in the SEC, and in a great SEC game, we see Kentucky getting a close win over the Commodores.  After eleven games, Kentucky is 5-6.  Kentucky finishes the season on the road at Tennessee and everyone involved in this game will remember the devastating loss that UK suffered to the Vols in '07.   Phil Fulmer might be under a tremendous amount of pressure by the time this game rolls around, and a loss against Kentucky at home is not the kind of thing that the UT fans will be able to handle well.  Tennessee should get out to an early lead and beat the Wildcats by a couple of touchdowns or so.  After a loss to the Vols, Kentucky finishes the regular season with a record of 5-7. 


2008 Coaches Hot Seat Prediction:      5-7


Will Rich Brooks be back for the 2009 season?      YES










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