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Teresa Phillips
Director of Athletics
(615) 963-5034
Teresa Phillips

Teresa Lawrence-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, increased sponsorships for the Division of Athletics, the recognition of Ohio Valley Conference Scholar Athletes, the awarding of the NCAA Pilot Grant, the construction of an Indoor Practice Facility, athletic facility upgrades, football's return to Hale Stadium, several conference and tournament championships in women's basketball, volleyball and women's track as well as 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. During the 2014 Women’s Final Four, she was named as a one of 10 Legends in Women’s Basketball in Tennessee.  

She was also recognized as the Second Most Influential Woman in Sports in Tennessee by The Tennessean newspaper. In addition, she was named USA Today 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 programs 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 guiding the Bulldogs to two WIAC League and Tournament Championships and being tabbed WIAC Coach of the Year twice.

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. She also has the honor of being the first African-American female student-athlete at Vanderbilt.

Community oriented, Phillips has been appointed to several boards and committees which include: NCAA Basketball Rules, NCAA Championship Cabinet, NCAA Administrative Cabinet, the NCAA HBCU Advisory Board, the NCAA W. Basketball Selection Committee, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Board, Boys & Girls Club Board, the Vanderbilt Alumni Advisory Board, the Nashville Final Four Executive Board, the Girls Preparatory School Alumni Board, the Nashville Dinner of Champions Committee and the Executive Board of the Nashville Sports Council.

She has held memberships in several organizations, including the Black Coaches Association, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

She is an inaugural member of the Girls Preparatory School Sports Hall of Fame, the Lookout Mountain Sports Hall of Fame and was honored in 2016 with the prestigious Betty Probasco Lifetime Achievement Award. In September 2017, she was inducted into the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame. She has two young adult sons, Micah and Kyle.

Phillips, who has led the department for the past 17 years, announced her retirement on October 21, 2019. She will remain in her role as AD until June 30, 2020.