NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Tennessee State University Athletics Director Teresa Phillips has announced she will be retiring, effective June 30, 2020.
Phillips sent a letter to the TSU community this week prior to Homecoming on Saturday.
“It is with excitement and a little trepidation that I announce this will be my last Homecoming as Athletics Director,” Phillips wrote in the letter. “The decision is one that I have contemplated for several years and I have finally decided that this year in the right time.”
Phillips said she shared her intention with TSU President Glenda Glover in mid-August and that she is supportive of the decision.
“I want to thank Dr. Glover for her continued support of me during the last five plus years and I wish her the best as her administration works to move the university and athletics to new heights.”
Phillips was hired as women’s basketball coach at TSU in May 1989. She was promoted to athletics director in 2002. She became the first female coach to lead a men’s basketball team when she coached the men’s team for one game in 2003 after the head coach was suspended.
“I am thankful for the opportunity given to me by former AD Bill Thomas to become Head Women’s Basketball Coach at TSU in May 1989. In this role, I was privileged to coach some of the greatest Lady Tiger players in the history of the program, all of who are exceptional individuals who have gone on to be very successful in their personal and professional endeavors,” wrote Phillips. “I feel so blessed to have been their coach, their parent in absentia and now to many, their friend. The coaches on my staff over those 11 years became my extended family, and I will forever owe them a debt of gratitude for their commitment to TSU, and for their loyalty and love over the years.
“I also must thank former President James A. Hefner, for naming me Athletics Director in 2002, and for believing that ‘students matter most.’ Know that I am grateful for each leg of my career journey at TSU – a journey which I have pursued with care, compassion, honesty and integrity.”
Phillips lead the Lady Tigers to Ohio Valley Conference regular season titles in 1994 and 1995. She compiled a 150-151 record in 11 seasons at TSU after posted a 62-38 in five years at Fisk University.
The Chattanooga, TN, native played on the first Vanderbilt women’s team during her sophomore season.
Phillips announced a $5,000 donation to the Athletics department to fund the Teresa Lawrence Phillips TSU Student-Athlete Completion Scholarship.
“As Athletics Director, one of the issues I am aware of is just how many student-athletes face the challenge of not progressing because of small funding gaps. Sometimes, just a few hundred dollars is all that is standing between a student and his or her goal to progress to graduation,” said Phillips. “This scholarship is designed to bridge the game and fund the ‘last dollar’ post semester financial needs for TSU student athletes, up to $500 each, to graduate.”