By Ron Wynn
Teresa Phillips has already been a trailblazer as both an athlete and administrator. Now she can add to her impressive resume Hall of Famer. Phillips was among 10 people named last week who comprise this year’s inductees into the Vanderbilt Hall of Fame.
While Phillips is well known today for her role as one of the rare women to lead an athletic department, prior to coming to Tennessee State, she earned national acclaim and recognition as a Vanderbilt athlete
Phillips was the first Black woman athlete in Vanderbilt history. She finished her career as a three-year basketball letter winner, and was the first recipient of the Lady Commodore Athlete of the Year award. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Vanderbilt, then a Master in Education from Tennessee State University.
Phillips was an assistant coach with Vanderbilt’s Lady Commodores from 1981-84, during that time helping them to an N.I.T. title in 1983. Phillips’ prowess as a recruiter was evident in Vanderbilt landing six All-Americans and seven All-State players during that period. Then she moved to Fisk, where in four years she led the Bulldogs to a pair of WIAC League and Tournament titles, while also twice being selected WIAC Coach of the Year.
At Tennessee State Phillips has enjoyed success at both the coaching and management levels. She coached the Lady Tigers for 11 years, from 1989-2000, earning USA Today national Coach of the Year honors in 1990. The 1993-94 squad won the Lady Tigers first Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles, capping that year with their first NCAA Tournament appearance. The 1994-95 Lady Tigers had a glittering 22-7 overall record, 12-4 in the OVC, and once again won the tournament title while sharing the regular season crown.
Though currently TSU’s AD, for one shining moment soon Teresa Phillips will return to Vanderbilt, and add another honor to her array of accomplishments.