Phillip King discovered his love of history in the high school classroom of Franklin Fisher. That love has propelled him through a teaching career that has lasted 25 years.
Now, for a second time, King is moving into administration. He will be the assistant principal over the Automotive, Construction, and Advanced Machining Academy at WCHS.
King is also the school’s baseball coach. This is his fourth year at WCHS as head coach. King, a Warren County native, says of taking the head baseball job at his alma mater in 2019, “The opportunity to go home and coach where you played and potentially have an impact on kids from the community you grew up in — you want to give back in similar fashion to the way people gave to us when we were kids.”
The 1989 WCHS graduate previously served as head baseball coach at Coffee County, Franklin County, and Tullahoma. He credits good mentors and colleagues for the success he has enjoyed as teacher and coach.
“I wouldn’t be where I was if it weren’t for people like Frank Fisher and Ronnie Brown and Morris Rogers,” he says.
Other influences have been Bobby Cox, Jimmy Walker, Doug Greene, Jeff Breeden, Andrew Taylor, George Pearson, Bert Browne, Jerry Mathis, and Chase Jones.
King last worked in administration from 2012 to 2015 at North Middle School in Decherd where he was assistant principal and athletic director. Concurrently he taught a geography class and coached the JV baseball team.
“I’ve worn a lot of hats,” King said.
Last school year he handled in-school suspension, taught dual-credit United States history, and was the school’s Ch r omeb o o k coordinator. The two years prior, he taught PE, and his first year at WCHS he taught a weightlifting class too. “Over time I’ve been in leadership roles, whether it’s been on a safety team or an emergency team or a department head or things like that,” he says. When the assistant principal positions came open, “I just felt like I’ll throw my hat into the ring.”
King and his wife Ashley celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this summer. Of his spouse he says, “She’s second to none. I have married well above my pay grade. I am blessed with her and our four boys.”
Those four sons are Grant, a Tennessee Tech architecture student, Jackson, a senior golfer and baseball player at WCHS, Ryan, a 9-year-old, and Connor, a 7-yearold.
Ashley is also a teacher, and she molds minds at West Middle School in Tullahoma. “When you’re in two different systems, you just hope that your fall breaks and your spring breaks match up,” King says.
King admits he will miss being a classroom teacher. “That’s what we do in coaching anyway, is we teach. You teach all the time.” He thinks he can contribute meaningfully as an assistant principal, though, and notes his academy includes the industrial wing and the trade students therein. “Times have changed,” he says. “It’s not every kid who goes out and gets a four-year college degree.” Many students learn a trade, then enter the workforce and become productive citizens, he said. Coming back to Warren County, where he started as a coach over 25 years ago, has been a full-circle move for King. “Clark George and Todd Willmore and Bobby Cox — I can’t thank them enough for giving me the chance to come home,” he says.
“I’m just proud to be here,” says King. “My dad used to always say, ‘I’m just proud to be here,’ and that’s kind of one of the things that stuck with me.’”