Continuing on with our 100 day countdown to WVU’s season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide, we have reached day 68, the number once worn by All-American tackle, Rick Phillips
Phillips spent four seasons apart of the Mountaineer football program (1985-88). Hailing from Parkersburg, WV, Phillips spent time in a program that was on the upswing towards challenging the elites in major college football.
In his freshman year, Phillips and crew finished with a 7-3-1 record, just missing out on a bowl bid. His sophomore season, the team struggled all year long as they lost to almost all of WVU’s most hated rivals (Maryland, Pitt, Penn St, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Syracuse, and Miami) to finish with a dreadful 4-7 record.
By 1987, the team was back on its feet as the Mountaineers finished with a 6-5 record, and earned a bid to that year’s Sun Bowl. Although WVU went on to lose to Oklahoma State, the 1987 team laid the ground work for the memorable 1988 team.
In his senior season, Phillips was amongst a group some regard as possibly the best offensive line the school’s ever assembled. Along with the likes of John Stroia, Kevin Koken, Bob Kovach, Brian Smider, and Keith Winn, Phillips helped protect and block for one of the all-time greats in WVU football history, quarterback Major Harris.
The ’88 team became the first to finish with a perfect regular season record (11-0), the first to finish the season with a top-five national ranking (AP #5), and the first and only team to date to play in a bowl game for a National Championship.
Following the completion of the ’88 season, Phillips was named a first team All-American by Scripts-Howard. He was also a second team selection for the same honor by the Associated Press, and United Press International. He is a member of the WVU football all-time team for the 1980’s.
Upon graduation, Phillips returned to his hometown of Parkersburg to work in various administrative capacities at nearby hospitals. While in the area, he also helped coach the offensive line at his alma mater, Parkersburg High School. Phillips spent 12 years coaching at the school, helping the school win a state championship, while also teaching the game to his two sons, Rick II and Jason.
Currently, Phillips serves in the role of city manager for the town of St. Mary’s, a job he’s served in since 2011. Phillips is also a member of Parkersburg High’s football hall-of-fame, receiving induction in 2011.
All countdown profiles of numbers 100-69 are still available here at http://wvupros.com.