UPDATE: South Spencer hires Tyler Phillips as boys basketball coach

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Coached JV teams at Columbus East (Ind.) and Mitchell (Ind.)

By Zane Clodfelter

Sports Editor


South Spencer finally has a new boys basketball coach.

Mitchell junior varsity coach Tyler Phillips was announced as the Rebels new varsity head coach in a executive meeting Wednesday night by South Spencer School Superintendent Candis Haskell.

“We feel extremely confident, no matter when the time came, he was our best choice,” Haskell said.

Phillips comes to South Spencer after coaching the Bluejackets junior varsity squad to a 12-5 record last season. Prior to his arrival in 2013, the team had won only five games the previous season.

“He has a proven record as a basketball coach,” Haskell said. “His interview as a teacher was exceptional.”

Haskell was one of four on a search committee assigned to find a replacement to take over for Ted O’Brien, who resigned earlier this summer to take the same position at Southridge (Ind.) High School. The O’Brien hire was made official on June 25.

In addition to coaching, Phillips will be a teacher at the high school, and is licensed by the state in three different subjects; math, social studies, and physical education. Though, it has not yet been determined what he will teach.

Phillips was not present at the executive meeting announcing his hiring, but expressed his excitement in a phone conversation with the Journal-Democrat.

“South Spencer has an athletic tradition in play, basketball just needs stability,” Phillips said. “I’m looking forward to providing that stability.”

Now that the hiring is finalized, Phillips’ attention will now turn to the current Rebels’ varsity basketball roster and he’s interested to see what his new team will look like.

“I want to meet my kids as soon as I can,” Phillips said. “I want it to be an easy transition.”

In addition to his turnaround at Mitchell, Phillips also led a resurgence at his first coaching stop, while serving as the JV coach at Columbus East (Ind.) from 2011-2013.

Over the span of two seasons, Phillips’ team won 23 games, after winning only two the season before his hire.

It was at Columbus East, where Phillips found his coaching mentor, varsity head coach Brent Chitty.

“He is hands down the best mentor and basketball coach that I’ve been around,” Phillips said. “For him, it’s about teaching these kids how to be successful at anything they do.”

Phillips said he will take the same approach that Chitty did when guiding his student-athletes in Rockport, teaching them not only how to be successful on the hardwood but in life as well.

With the vacancy filled, the Rebels’ can rally now around their coach, instead of wondering who that coach will be, which was something the players couldn’t say while peparing for the season throughout the summer workouts.

“We were looking for a teacher first and coach second and we found it,” Haskell said.
South Spencer also found the needed stability too.