Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Teresa Phillips

February 13, 2003 Columns No Comments

Putting Out Fires, the Teresa Phillips Way

by Adam Shandler

You’re the Athletic Director of a school whose men’s basketball program looks like a bad episode of Cops. First, your head coach, Nolan Richardson III, brings a gun to school for show and tell. Not on your watch, you say. Then, your team under interim coach Hosea Lewis, partakes of a brawl that sent 19 total players packing. The game, already a joke, resumes with four players to a side. The punchline: one of your guys fouls out, leaving the team you oversee with three, and to top it all off, you lose by 17.

Bad news. Bad press. Enough is enough, you think. But what can you do, short of faxing out a bunch of fluff press releases to the local media and making a statement at a podium emblazoned with the school crest?

You take matters into your own hands, that’s what.

Since Teresa Phillips announced on Tuesday that she would temporarily handle head coaching duties for the TSU men’s basketball team, the words “history” and “first” have been tossed around. True, Phillips will be the first woman to head coach a collegiate men’s team in any major sport. (Mary Fenlon of Georgetown and Bernadette Locke of Kentucky were both assistants.) But let’s be gender-blind for a moment. Instead of calling her a historical figure, shouldn’t we be lauding her as a responsible administrator? A woman who knows good PR from bad?

Teresa Phillips does not strike me as the kind of woman looking to make history or garner glory. If that were the case, she’d be pacing the sidelines for the rest of the season and not just one game. And this isn’t a girl power thing either. Phillips will not smack Lewis with more penalties than the OVC-enforced one game suspension. Nor will Phillips ask of TSU players, “Who’s your Mamma?”

No, Phillips is a refined woman, with probably better interpersonal and crisis management skills than most male coaches in Division I hoops.

And she can coach, too.

Phillips picked up an ailing Lady Tigers program from a 2-25 season, went 12-14 her first year and finished an eleven-year tenure at 212-189 before being named TSU AD.

So why is Teresa Phillips appointing herself coach-for-a-day and not yet another TSU assistant coach in the TSU assistant coach repository? (Well, let’s face it. Clearly, that dog don’t hunt. She’d be better off running a sweepstakes and giving the job to a fan.)

When “Coach” Phillips calls the shots on Thursday night against Austin Peay, she is doing it as a caring administrator and an able, proven leader who is trying to save the face of a program with a pathetic record (2-20, 0-11 in the Ohio Valley Conference) and two big black eyes this season. Even a general must take up arms in the darkest of hours. Phillips knows the power of positivity, and if having your athletic director (who happens to be a woman) take over the team seems like a desperate, bombastic way to turn the tide, so be it. Already it’s working. Guys like me are writing more about “Phillips The Coach” than the aftermath of the brawl involving her team on Monday night. And folks like you are reading more — and talking more — about Phillips’s decision.

And you know you want to watch. The game between TSU and Austin Peay, I mean (you dirty person). You want to see what Teresa Phillips is made of…and if she can win.

OVC commish Ron English did praise both Hosea Lewis and Eastern Kentucky coach Travis Ford for reigning in the brawl as best they could, but also stated, “…the coaches are leaders, and it was their responsibility to make sure that those players did not leave the bench area in the first place.”

Phillips responded likewise, saying what any good AD would say: “Monday night’s altercation is certainly not indicative of the outstanding athletic spirit of the OVC or Tennessee State University.”

But unlike many of her colleagues, Phillips backs up her sayings with doings. Let’s see if she can do what Richardson and Lewis could not so far this season — win a conference game.

Then we’ll talk about Phillips becoming “a first.”


Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2018

March 20, 2018 by

We discuss the wild early rounds of the NCAA Tournament, joined by special guest Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal for one segment. In addition, we touch on coaching news and other issues surrounding the college game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 17, 2018

March 17, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, there is one main story to focus on: history being made in Charlotte and its aftermath. But we also talk about tough times for the Pac-12 and a key member school, plus an added challenge ahead at Pittsburgh.

College Basketball Tonight – March 11, 2018

March 12, 2018 by

College Basketball Tonight returns with a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament bracket, and in the second segment Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian joins us.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2018

March 10, 2018 by

As Championship Week nears its climax on the big Saturday, we look at a pair of semifinals and a lot of bubble teams that may be sweating it out on Sunday.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 8, 2018

March 8, 2018 by

As Championship Week heats up, we talk about bubble teams who may or may not want to earn their way into the NCAA Tournament, as well as a couple of mid-majors whose conference championship game was played earlier in the week.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.