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June 11, 2014

Joker Phillips resigns as receivers coach

Florida is now on its sixth different wide receivers coach since 2009. Wednesday, the school surprisingly announced wide receivers coach Joker Phillips has resigned from his duties and will be replaced by graduate assistant and former Gators quarterback Chris Leak.

Leak is being promoted as a full-time wide receivers coach and not simply a graduate assistant fielding a higher role.

"I appreciate the opportunity that coach Muschamp has given me and my family," Leak said in an official statement. "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. I'm excited to be a part of it."

The opportunity gives Leak the chance for a career breakthrough, coaching a critical position at a top-flight university. Florida's wide receivers are thought to be as deep and talented as they have been since Will Muschamp arrived at UF.

For Phillips, the move is sudden and puzzling. He has worked recent summer camps at Florida in previous days and tweeted his trademark #ComePlayWRForTheJoker just two days ago. His contract ran through the 2014 season.

"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 an official statement.

Phillips was set to work alongside offensive line coach Mike Summers and under offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, two coaches he had authority over as Kentucky's offensive coordinator in 2005, this season. He was thought to be a possible candidate for the Gators' offensive coordinator job in December, but Muschamp instead went with Roper.

"I appreciate Joker's contributions to our program and wish him and his wife, Leslie, nothing but the best in the future," Muschamp said in an official statement.

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