Nashville, Tenn. - On Thursday, Tennessee State University honored Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips for her role in strengthening women's rights in the world of sports.
Athletic administrators put on a surprise banquet in Phillips's honor before the Lady Tigers' game against Morehead State and Phillips was recognized during halftime of the game.
At the banquet, members from the entire TSU athletic department came to show their support for their athletic director as well as some of Phillips's long-time friends and family. After greeting her mother, father and two brothers, a grateful Phillips addressed her supporters by speaking about her journey through sports and thanking those in attendance- including OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche.
At halftime of the TSU-Morehead State game, Phillips was given a trophy at center court that signified her work at TSU, Fisk and Vanderbilt. Fans in attendance rose to their feet and applauded once her lengthy list of accomplishments was read.
Phillips became head of the Tennessee State University athletics department in April of 2002. As director, the athletic department has made tremendous strides on the playing field, campus, community and classroom.
Some accomplishments under the Phillips' administration include the launching of the first official website for TSU Athletics in August of 2002, the revitalization of the Big Blue Booster Club, the recognition of Ohio Valley Conference Scholar Athletes, and conference championships in volleyball, women's track including a PGA minority national championship in men's golf.
Phillips also has the distinction of being the first woman ever to coach an NCAA Division I men's basketball team en route to being named one of the "101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports" by Sports Illustrated in 2003.
She was also named as the Second Most Influential Woman in Sports in Tennessee by The Tennessean newspaper. In addition, she was named USA Today's National Coach of the Year in 1990 and was a three-time OVC Coach of the Year selection.
No stranger to athletic success, she was head coach of the Lady Tigers basketball program at TSU for 11 seasons from 1989-2000. Phillips guided the 1993-94 squad to the program's first-ever OVC regular season crown, the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship, and the team's first appearance ever in the NCAA tournament.
Phillips and her staff enjoyed their most successful season in 1994-95 as the Lady Tigers (22-7, 12-4 OVC) shared the regular season title. TSU claimed its second consecutive tournament title and a trip to the NCAA tournament. She has been invited twice to serve as an assistant coach for USA Basketball (1995 and 1999) and was invited to serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Festival North Squad.
Prior to her stint at TSU, Phillips was head coach at Fisk University for four years. She guided the Bulldogs to WIAC League and Tournament Championships in 1987 and 1988 and was tabbed WIAC Coach of the Year twice (1987, 1988). She compiled a 68-34 overall record with the Bulldogs.
She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor's degree in Economics before obtaining a Masters in Education from TSU in 1999. Phillips, who helped recruit six All-Americans and seven All-State players, served as an assistant coach with the Lady Commodores (1981-1984) winning the N.I.T. in 1983.
Phillips earned several honors as a three-year letter winner at Vanderbilt. She was the first recipient of the Lady Commodore Athlete of the Year honor, given to the best all-around female athlete. In addition, she received the Nashville Civitan's Sportsmanship Award in 1979 and 1980.
Community oriented, Phillips has assisted with the National Youth Sports Drug Program and has been appointed to several boards and committees which include: NCAA Basketball Rules, NCAA Championship Cabinet, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Boys' & Girls' Club, the Vanderbilt Alumni Advisory Board and the Nashville Sports Council
She has held memberships in several organizations, including the Black Coaches Association, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, the NCAA Championship and Competition Cabinet and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
She is an inaugural member of the Girls' Preparatory School Sports Hall of Fame and a 2008 inductee of the Lookout Mountain Sports Hall of Fame. She lives in Nashville with her two sons, Micah and Kyle.
The festivities come just days after the Ohio Valley Conference named Phillips one of the league's most influential women in its celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX.