Jeff Phillips (2023)
About Jeff Phillips
Jeff Phillips, a 1979 graduate, returned to his alma mater, Seneca East, where his coaching career began as the boys’ wrestling coach while working a full-time job at Pepperidge Farm, a job he held for over 40 years. Phillips was not your traditional cross country and track & field coach as he was not an educator and it was during his time as a wrestling coach that he was asked by the school to coach the girls’ cross country team. Without any prior experience as a distance coach, but with a willingness to reach out to successful coaches for advice, Phillips capitalized on the opportunity and built the Seneca East girls’ program into one of the most successful and powerful small school programs in the state of Ohio during his 26 year tenure (1985-2010). In addition, he initiated the elementary and junior high cross country programs, extending the lasting impact he had created at the high school level. In 1992, Phillips became the girls track & field distance coach and then the head coach in 2004 until his retirement in 2010. He led the girls track & field program to 9 League Championships, 5 District Championships, 2 Regional Championships and 3 Top 10 Team State Meet team finishes. Phillips coached 23 individual All-Ohio track and field performers along with 18 All-Ohio relay teams. Four track and field individuals captured State Championships and four more were State Runner-Up finishers. In cross country, Phillips proved to be elite. He coached 17 different individual State Qualifiers who amassed 36 State qualifying performances and 21 All-Ohio performances among them. Phillips also coached Briana Shook, who captured 2 individual State Cross Country Championship titles in 1997 & 1998 and Brittany Stockmaster who captured 2 individual State Runner-Up finishes in 2008 & 2009. More impressive than the individual performances however were the performances of his cross country teams. Under his guidance, the Lady Tigers captured 15 league Championships, 14 District Championships, 6 Regional Championships, and 15 State Meet appearances, all coming in his last 17 years. His state meet finishes included 13 top 10 finishes, 9 top 5 finishes, 3 State Team Runner-Up finishes (1997, 2000, and 2008), and the top prize, a State Championship in 1998. During his tenure Jeff Phillips’ cross country coaching record stands at a remarkable 2889 wins – 439 losses along with 14 MAL and six District 6 Coach of the Year honors. Although the accomplishments of Jeff Phillips are many, the most important legacy of Coach Phillips is the positive life impact he made on the athletes he coached at Seneca East. Congratulations to Jeff Phillips for his lifetime devotion to the Seneca East Community and his induction into the 2023 OATCCC Hall of Fame.