Montgomery, Ala.—Huntingdon College
President J. Cameron West announced today that director of
athletics and head women's basketball coach Buzz Phillips
will step down as director of athletics but will remain at the
College as head women's basketball coach, effective immediately.
West added that, in gratitude for all Phillips has contributed to
Huntingdon athletics, Phillips will be recognized as Director of
Athletics Emeritus. Phillips stated that he intends to focus on
strengthening the women's basketball team and on identifying
outstanding student-athletes to be part of the Huntingdon
"It has been an honor to work with a man of Coach Phillips' character," said West. "Coach Phillips has a deep love for Huntingdon and for Huntingdon student-athletes and is passionate about running an intercollegiate athletic program of excellence and integrity. We are grateful he remains on staff to lead the women's basketball program."
"I've had a good run here at Huntingdon—we've accomplished a lot," said Phillips. "I thank President West for his support during my nine years as athletic director, and I thank the coaching staff and the student-athletes for all they give to the Huntingdon program. Huntingdon has some of the best student-athletes anywhere. I love this college. This isn't goodbye, but a 42-year career is just about long enough. I look forward to continuing with the women's basketball program and bringing home more championships in the future. I also look forward—and this is the most important reason for this decision—to having more free time to spend with my grandkids."
Phillips' combined years of service to
Huntingdon athletics span nearly two decades. He returned to
Huntingdon as director of athletics in 2003 after serving from 1991
to 2001 on the Huntingdon coaching staff and as assistant director
of athletics. In 2001, he led Huntingdon men's basketball to the
National Small College Athletic Association national title and was
named Coach of the Year by the NSCAA. Under Phillips' leadership as
director of athletics, the College has re-introduced men's tennis
and women's golf and added men's and women's cross country and
men's and women's lacrosse. Last year, the College announced its
move from the Great South Athletic Conference to full membership in
the USA South Athletic Conference beginning fall 2013. Since 2003,
football, softball and men's golf have qualified for NCAA-Division
III play-off berths, and regular season or GSAC championships have
been garnered by men's and women's cross country, men's and women's
tennis, baseball, softball, volleyball, and men's basketball.
Athletic facility improvements under Phillips' leadership have included the addition of Charles Lee Field and W. James Samford Jr. Stadium, built in three phases; the complete renovation and reconstruction of the tennis courts, renamed George S. Gibbs Tennis Center in 2012; and the renovation and renaming of Catherine Dixon Roland Arena. In addition, Neal Posey Field was resurfaced and new scoreboards were added to the soccer and baseball facilities. The College's football field house was renamed in Phillips' honor last fall. Phillips earned the 2004 All-America Football Foundation Bill Wade Unsung Hero Award and was inducted into Huntingdon's Order of the Countess of Huntingdon giving society in 2008.
An alumnus of Troy University, Phillips served as a student assistant for the Troy football program and was a member of the 1968 NAIA national championship football team, also playing baseball for Troy in 1968 and 1969. He rejoined the Troy athletic department in 2001 as director of marketing, serving in various other capacities for the department until returning to Huntingdon in 2003. In 2002, he was selected as the Women's Sports Foundation Joyce Sorrell Achievement Award recipient. He was honored with the prestigious Trojan Award and was named Troy Alumni of the Year in 2003.
Before entering the college coaching ranks, Phillips coached for 20 years at the prep level and handled the athletic directorship of the Sylacauga Recreation Department.
West has named College alumnus Tommy Dismukes, Class of 1983, who serves as director of student financial services and as the College's NCAA compliance officer, to the post of interim director of athletics pending the appointment of Phillips' successor.
Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Founded in 1854, Huntingdon is a coeducational liberal arts college. The College motto, "Enter to grow in wisdom; go forth to apply wisdom in service," is inscribed in stone above the front door of John Jefferson Flowers Hall. Ranked in the top tier of regional colleges by U.S. News and World Report and consistently listed in the Princeton Review's "The Best Colleges: Region by Region," Huntingdon has for two years been recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Washington Monthly, which ranks colleges on the basis of their contributions to the public good, places Huntingdon in thetop 20% of 352 baccalaureate colleges.