The Obit For Bill Phillips

William B. Phillips
(1928 - 2012)

Published in The Greenville News on April 13, 2012

Coach William B. Phillips, died April 11, 2012.

Born December 2, 1928, he was a son of the late John B. and Docia Riddle Phillips. He married his high school sweetheart, Bette Ann Fowler, during college.

Coach Phillips graduated from Greenville High School where he was an outstanding player in baseball, basketball and football. He received All-State Honors in basketball and baseball and was named the Most Valuable player in football in his senior year.

He received a BA and an MA from Furman University, where he played both baseball and basketball and was an All-Southern catcher when Furman played in the old Southern Conference, which included schools such as Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State.

He served in the United States military and managed and played for the baseball team at Fort Jackson. He signed with the Philadelphia Athletics to play baseball and was moving up when he had disc injuries to his back, thus ending his professional career.

He returned to Greenville High School where he coached baseball, basketball and football, winning state championships in basketball in 1964 and 1965. In 1969, at the request of Vince Perone, he became the Athletic Director, Head Football Coach and Baseball coach at Wade Hampton High School. Always making things better, he raised money to build a track, improve the football stadium and build a baseball field.

His awards and honors are numerous and too many to mention all of them. In 1965 the Mayor of Greenville designated it as Bill Phillips night and presented him the "Key to the City" because of his outstanding Legion teams. Coach Phillips coached in the Shrine Bowl and the North South game. In 1980-81 he was named the South Carolina Coaches Athletic Director State Coach of the Year. In 1991 he was elected to the "Greater Greenville Baseball Hall of Fame". In 1994 he received our state's highest honor from Governor Carroll Campbell, The Order of The Palmetto. His latest honor was the William B. Phillips Baseball Scholarship at Furman University, established by Dr. Thomas Latham, Jr. One of his greatest coaching joys was helping to coach his grandson's Dixie Youth 11 and 12 year old team in Columbia, SC in 1997, driving to Columbia 3 and 4 days a week for many weeks and amassing approximately 6 to 7 thousand miles during the season. He also helped with the Ben Lippen baseball team, commuting to Columbia many, many times.

He started the first FCA Chapters in Greenville at Greenville High and Wade Hampton High and currently served on the FCA Board.

He was a member of White Oak Baptist Church for 51 years, where he taught Sunday School and was Deacon Chairman many times.

He is survived by his wife, Bette Ann, two sons, Rev. Steve Phillips (Pam) of Columbia, and Dan Phillips of Greenville; a sister Betty Wood (Harmon); a brother Alva Phillips (Elizabeth); grandchildren, Matthew Phillips and Melody Phillips.

He was predeceased by 2 brothers, John B. Phillips, Jr. and Rev. Jack Phillips; a sister, Margaret Zachary; and two infant children, William and Betsy Phillips.

A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, April 14, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, with the Rev. Cliff Barrows and the Rev. Dr. Albert Allen presiding.

The family will receive friends following the service at the church. Burial will be private.

Memorials may be made to the Cancer Society of Greenville County and the Fellowship of Christian Athletics.