Phillips takes over as Cleveland's AD

Phillips takes over as Cleveland's AD

July 20th, 2012 by Gene Henley in Sports - Preps

Cleveland coach Eric Phillips

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Former Cleveland High School wrestling coach Eric Phillips is now the school's athletic director.

Phillips replaces Mike Collier, who will be the principal of Cleveland Middle School. The move gives Cleveland High an opening for a physical education teacher, which could help hire a new assistant football coach.

Phillips spent three seasons directing the wrestling Blue Raiders, who in 2011 won the program's first state championship in 17 seasons. He said the new position will still give him flexibility to be part of the wrestling program, as well as continuing to teach his leadership class.

Collier was an assistant principal and helped with school discipline, a duty Phillips will not have.

"I just have to get my arms wrapped around what the job entails," he said about the AD position. "I just want to help the coaches do their job better by lending support and assistance when it's either possible or solicited. I've been coaching for 21 years.

"I'm going to figure out how to handle helping others do their jobs, as opposed to the day-to-day running and maintenance of a program."

During the last three years under Collier, every program in the school advanced to the state playoffs or a sectional except for softball, which had a coach transition two seasons ago.

"I've enjoyed my times as athletic director, but sometimes there's an opportunity you just can't pass up," Collier said. "We've been pretty successful in most sports over my time there, but it had nothing to do with me. I've just tried to do all I could do to support the coaches and give them the opportunities and resources in doing what they do.

"I was fortunate to be a part of things; I'm going to miss not doing it, but Eric's going to do a great job. I'm excited about what he'll do."

Said Phillips: "Following Mike is good, because he was very organized and there was lots of accountability and professionalism. I don't need to do a lot of changing; we have good coaches in place.

"I'm excited about the new challenge."