For anyone attending a WCMS Pioneer or Lady Pioneer basketball game over the last three years, you couldn’t help but notice coach Isaiah Phillips on the sideline. He’s a very active coach shouting commands like a platoon sergeant on maneuvers.
Next year, the consummate professional and snappy dresser who would look at home on any NBA court is going to be absent from Warren County Middle School basketball games as he has recently accepted a position as Franklin County High School’s head basketball coach.
“It was one of the toughest decisions I think I have ever had to make,” said Phillips. “Over the past few years I’ve been contacted about jobs as an assistant coach and I’ve turned them down, but when this job came available where I could build my own program and be a head high school coach, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity.”
“Warren County has been my home for the past eight years and I want to thank everyone who has given me their support. I will cherish the memories and friendships forever,” Phillips said. “I’ll miss the people who believed in me and all the kids I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They have worked hard and will have a bright future.”
Coach Phillips has been involved in coaching during most of his residence here in Warren County, going from the high school level as an assistant to Malcolm Montgomery to lead the middle school’s program to success. The WCMS 7-8 grade boys were unbeaten last year entering the CTC Tournament before suffering a loss, minus some top scorers.
The kids all seem to genuinely like coach Phillips, even giving him an award at the last regular season game for all his hard work. The team had a lot of playmakers, but coach Phillips didn’t have starters as he pushed the team concept.
“Coach Phillips has been a huge asset to our basketball program at the middle school,” said WCMS athletic director Betsy McBride. “He was very successful with the boys teams. The 2016-2017 boys varsity team claimed the CTC season championship while having an undefeated season. He will definitely be missed, but we are happy for his accomplishments and wish him well in his next position.”
While the Franklin County Rebels know who will be coaching next year, officials at the middle school don’t have a replacement for coach Phillips yet.