JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Carson-Newman Track & Field Coach David Needs and Cross Country Coach Tyler Stepp have announced the hiring of Eric Phillips each of their staffs' as an assistant for 2018.
"We conducted a national search because we wanted to hire the right person for the job and we are excited with our choice to hire Eric," Needs stated. "Someone whose values and mindset fit with our mission as a University, someone who could coach certainly but also a tireless recruiter. It became pretty clear that as we went through the process we found our coach and know that he will be an important part of this program."
"Being part of a small school having that private background, it's building on that southern hospitality and its a family out here," Phillips mentioned. "That was something that was very apparent early on in the conversations and that's something I definitely want to continue to embrace and continue to build on with the team culture and just my relationships with the athletes here and everyone I will be working with."
Phillips, a native of Saginaw, Michigan, joins the Eagles Cross Country and Track & Field program after spending two years with the University of Mary Marauders in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Since joining the University of Mary in the fall of 2016, Phillips assisted in coaching the Marauders to two NCAA DII National Champions, two NCAA DII National Runner-ups, 11 NCAA DII individual All-Americans, a Women's Distance Medley Relay All-American team, two NCAA DII Central Region Champions, 29 NCAA DII Central Region All-Region Performers, 11 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Champions, 43 NSIC All-Conference Performers, 19 NCAA DII Academic All-Americans, five NCAA DII All-Academic Team Awards and 48 NSIC Individual All-Academic Awards. Phillips also assisted in coaching the 2017 NCAA DII Women's National Runner-up Team as well as the 2018 NCAA DII Women's Indoor Track & Field 4th Place Team.
Previously, Phillips was also a part of a 7th place team finish at the 2016 NCAA DII Women's Cross Country National Championships, the program's first-ever NCAA DII Central Region Women's Cross Country Team Title and the program's first-ever NSIC Women's Cross Country Team Title which were both repeated in the 2017-2018 year along with an Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field NSIC Team Title to match.
As a collegiate student-athlete, Phillips attended Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan earning his B.S. in Clinical Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology. In his time as a Laker, Phillips was a two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference runner-up in the 800m, contributed to a GLIAC runner-up performance on the Distance Medley Relay as well as a 14th place finish at the 2011 NCAA DII Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 800m.
"Coming from my side as an athlete I've seen both sides of the spectrum and what it takes to get to the top," Phillips added. "It's something I've been building upon and its been great for my development."
Following graduation, Phillips earned his USATF Level 1 Coaching certification and returned to his high school alma mater as an Assistant Cross Country and Track & Field Coach at Heritage High School of Saginaw, MI in the fall of 2013 where he would later take the helm of the Girl's Track & Field team as Head Coach in the spring of 2016.
In his time as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the Marauders, Phillips earned his M.S. in Kinesiology here at the University of Mary. He also has earned certifications through the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in Strength & Conditioning, Sports Psychology, Injury Management and Meet Management.
Phillips currently resides in Morristown, Tenn. He and his fiancée Alaina have two dogs, London and Taffy.