GAINESVILLE -- For the fourth time in as many years, Florida will have a new wide receivers coach.
In a shocking announcement, Joker Phillips, a 26-year coaching veteran who joined the Gators’ staff in December 2012, resigned for “personal reasons,” the school announced Wednesday.
ESPN, citing anonymous sources, reported Phillips was forced to resign due to potential NCAA recruiting violations.
"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 statement.
"I appreciate Joker's contributions to our program and wish him and his wife, Leslie, nothing but the best in the future," head coach Will Muschamp added.
Phillips was also Florida’s recruiting coordinator, but the more pressing concern is UF’s merry-go-round coaching position.
Former Gators quarterback Chris Leak, a graduate assistant and quality control coach at Florida in 2013, was promoted and will replace Phillips as the wide receivers coach.
While Muschamp touted Leak as a “bright young coach,” the former national champion starting quarterback has minimal coaching experience and is the second graduate assistant in three seasons to either be promoted or coach the receivers despite the lack of coaching acumen.
"He is one of the all-time Gator greats and being at Florida is very important to him,” Muschamp said.
“He has been working with Coach [Kurt] Roper and our offensive staff and is very familiar with our players and new system."
Leak was a four-year starter at Florida (2003-06), amassing school records in yards (11, 213), completions (895) and attempts (1,458) while leading the Gators to their second school national championship in 2006.
"I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Muschamp has given me and my family," he 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."
More to come.
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