|Football is all about
toughness. While size, strength, and speed are pivotal factors in the
outcome of games, toughness is the true attribute that sets teams apart
from all forms of opposition. As coaches, we consistently search for examples
and evidence of toughness that relate themselves to the game of football.
We grasp on to these concepts to propel our players thoughts beyond
the pain, hurt, and anguish that routinely surface during the course of
a season. We lean on these parables to give us strength in times of desperation
and exhaustion. We look for meaning beyond the game itself.
Coach Brian Phillips was toughness. His attitude and exuberance for both the players and the program was never rivaled in any capacity. He was a true Cardinal in every facet of the word. Coach Phillips lived his life by example. Teaching all around him the concept and realization of toughness with effort and ease to all those privileged enough to call him friend, coach, and coworker. While we searched for the meaning for toughness he lived the perfect example of this attribute.
At Collinsville, we separate ourselves by what we put into what we do. We pride ourselves on working between the whistle and during the offseason because we realize that the game is won due to the work put in, rather than the serendipity of the situation. To be a Cardinal means to collectively come together and realize that we only control two things during a game, effort and toughness. Coach Phillips gave more effort and was tougher than any person we have collectively had the privilege to know. He never complained, undercut, or had an off day. He was the example of professionalism in everything he did and he set the perfect example for our players of leading a purpose driven life.
Every hit, tackle, block, and pass will have added meaning to it for our players from now on. Every coach will coach harder and love each player more from now on. We have to carry with us the examples given to us by our friend. Coach Phillips lived a life full of meaning and purpose. He molded young people continuously through both his passion for education and his love of sport. Every player and coach is better for having had the love of this incredible person. The loss of Coach Phillips will be felt for years to come. His presence both in the classroom and on the field will be forever missed. Although we take the field without him from now on, we will never be absent from the toughness that Coach Phillips has given us. Lets challenge each other to live life as he did. Lets live life with no excuses and realize that toughness is something that has nothing to do with size, strength, or speed. It has everything to do with heart and love. We will never have a better example of what it means to be a true Cardinal. Coach Phillips will forever be missed but will never be forgotten. We carry him with us for the rest of our days and we are better off for having had him in our lives. As coaches who look for examples for our players, we will never have to venture far to find the perfect concept behind the identity of our teams. Live life, play, and love as Coach Phillips did. He is forever a Cardinal and forever a friend.