Tulsa's John Phillips enters his fourth year as the Tulsa head coach and in his eighth year at the school. He is one of just four Hurricane coaches to win 20 games in their first two seasons. In his first year, Phillips led the Hurricane to a 27-7 overall record, and took Tulsa back to the NCAA Tournament following a one-year absence. His team did it again a year later by posting a 23-10 overall record and winning the Western Athletic Conference Tournament title.
Phillips, who was born in Tulsa and attended Tulsa's McLain High School, fulfilled a dream when he was appointed the Hurricane mentor. He was introduced as The University of Tulsa's 28th head basketball coach on April 9, 2001. Now, Phillips has another dream that he will be chasing as coach of one of the nation's elite basketball programs of the last twenty years -- an NCAA Championship.
In three years, Phillips has posted a 59-37 record for a .615 winning percentage. Phillips ranks 10th on the career victories list for a Tulsa coach with 59 career wins.
His 27 victories in his first season are the most wins ever by a first-year Tulsa coach, and tied for second-most wins in school history. Phillips became the third coach in school history to lead Tulsa to an NCAA Tournament appearance in his first year as head coach. By sharing the regular season Western Athletic Conference regular season title with a 15-3 record in 2002, Phillips became the first coach in school history to win a league crown in his first season as head coach.
The 50 wins in his first two seasons made him only the second coach in school history to reach the 50-win plateau in his first two seasons. Nolan Richardson accomplished the feat in the 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons.
Before becoming the Tulsa head coach, Phillips spent the previous four seasons on the Tulsa coaching staff. He served during the 2000-01 season as Tulsa's associate head coach under Buzz Peterson. Previously, he was an assistant coach for three years on Bill Self's coaching staff.
"It became increasingly obvious as we continued the coaching search that the right person for this position was already on campus," said TU's Director of Athletics Judy MacLeod as she introduced Phillips as head coach. "John Phillips is well respected by the campus community, Tulsa community, in the state of Oklahoma and by our basketball players. We believe he is the right person to continue to build upon the success of the Tulsa basketball program."
Phillips has been an integral part of the most successful time in Golden Hurricane basketball history. In his seven seasons at Tulsa, the Hurricane has posted a 159-75 record for a .679 winning percentage.
As an assistant coach for four years, Tulsa posted a record of 100-38, won the Western Athletic Conference regular season title once (1999-00), shared the WAC Championship once (1998-99), advanced to the 2000 NCAA Tournament South Regional finals and won the 2001 National Invitation Tournament Championship. The 2000 team compiled the best record in school history with a 32-5 mark and an "Elite Eight" appearance, while the 2000-01 squad posted a 26-11 record and won the NIT Championship.
Phillips has coached in both the collegiate and prep ranks in Oklahoma. He now has coached seven years on the collegiate level and spent 17 seasons as a high school head coach. Phillips took three different prep teams to the state tournament.
Phillips is in his second tour of duty with the Hurricane basketball program. His first collegiate coaching experience came in 1977 as a graduate assistant coach at TU under Jim King. He served two seasons (1988-90) as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State under Leonard Hamilton. While there, OSU earned invitations to the NIT both years.
In 17 seasons in the high school ranks, Phillips compiled an overall 273-159 record for a .632 winning percentage and averaged 16 wins per season. His teams made seven state tournament appearances, won one state title and placed as state runner-up twice. He took three different high school teams to the state tournament.
Prior to returning to the collegiate ranks in 1997, Phillips was the varsity basketball coach at Broken Arrow High School for four seasons and registered an overall 59-40 record at the school. His 1996-97 team, unranked at the start of the season, posted a 23-7 record and won the Class 6A regional title, area crown and state title.
Before taking over the coaching reigns at Broken Arrow, Phillips coached three seasons at Stillwater High School (1990-93). His previous head coaching stops included Tulsa's Edison (1982-88), Bartlesville (1980-82) and Mannford High Schools (1978-80).
At Edison, Phillips coached future University of Kansas standouts Kevin Pritchard and Archie Marshall. His teams went to four straight Class 4A state semifinals, while posting a 128-35 record (.785) in six seasons. During his high school coaching career, Phillips coached more than 20 prep players who went on to play collegiately.
Phillips, 57, earned his bachelor's degree in social studies from Oklahoma State University in 1973. He received his master's degree in education from Tulsa in 1978. He and his wife, Leah, have two children: son Duggan and daughter Kelly.
The John Phillips Capsule
College: Played one year at Paris (Texas) Junior College and was an all-conference performer in 1966.
Phillips' Collegiate Coaching Highlights
1977-78 Was a graduate assistant coach at The University of Tulsa for the 1977-78 season under Jim King.
1979-81 Served as head coach at Mannford High School for two years . . . compiled a 31-20 record and was named the Cimarron Conference Coach of the Year once.
1981-83 Was the head coach at Bartlesville High School for two seasons where he posted a 19-27 record.
1983-88 Spent six seasons as the head coach at Tulsa's Edison High School where he registered a 128-35 record and was state runner-up twice . . . his teams went to four straight Class 4A state semifinals . . . was named district coach of the year twice, metro coach of the year once and region 7 coach of the year once . . . coached future University of Kansas standouts Kevin Pritchard and Archie Marshall.
1988-90 Moved to the collegiate ranks . . . was an assistant basketball coach at Oklahoma State University for two seasons under Leonard Hamilton . . . had two NIT quarterfinalist teams.
1990-93 Returned to the prep ranks as the head coach at Stillwater High School, where he coached for three seasons . . . compiled a three-year record of 36-37 and led the team to the 1993 state tournament.
1993-97 Was the head coach at Broken Arrow High School where he compiled a 59-40 four-year record . . . his 1996-97 team, unranked at the start of the season, posted a 23-7 record and won the Class 6A regional title, area crown and state championship.
1997-01 Served as an assistant coach at The University of Tulsa for four years . . . was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2000-01 season . . . during his four years, Tulsa compiled an overall record of 100-38, including a school-best 32-5 mark in 1999-2000 and an NIT Championship and 26-11 record in 2000-01.
2001-03 Became the head basketball coach at The University of Tulsa on April 9, 2001 . . . has a career 59-37 record at the school in three seasons as head coach . . . led the Hurricane to a 27-7 overall record, and 15-3 league mark for a share of the Western Athletic Conference regular season title in his first season . . . his 27 victories was the most wins by a first-year Tulsa coach and he was the third first-year head coach in school history to lead Tulsa to an NCAA Tournament appearance . . . in 2002-03, he became just the fourth coach in school history to post back-to-back 20+ win seasons in their first two seasons, and only the second coach to win 50 games in his first two seasons (Nolan Richardson was the first) . . . ranks 10th on the career victories list with 59 wins.
Phillip's Year-By-Year Collegiate Coaching Record