North Springs announced it has named Jeff Phillips as its new head football coach.
Phillips, who served as Wheeler’s co-offensive coordinator last season, replaces Scotty Parker, who was fired in October after an 0-6 start to the 2020 season.
According to an email from Spartans Athletic Director Vince Strine, prior to his one season at Wheeler, Phillips was the head coach for seven years at Austin-East in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he led the Roadrunners to five straight playoff berths, region titles in 2015 and 2016 and region runner-up finishes from 2017-19.
Phillips was named the Tennessee State Coach of the Year in 2016 and the Region 2AAA Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2019. His record at Austin-East is 55-28 overall, including 13-5 in the playoffs. During his tenure with the Roadrunners, Phillips’ teams set every offensive record in school history many times over, 35 athletes signed scholarships to play college football and its graduation rate rose from 88% to 98%.
“Coach Phillips has been in the building as a teacher since the end of February and has already made great strides in making relationships with the players and creating a culture of accountability within the program,” Strine said.
Phillips, a Knoxville native who played several positions at Austin-East and then played defensive back at the University Tennessee at Chattanooga, said he moved to metro Atlanta last summer partly to give his wife a new job opportunity.
When asked about his offensive success at Austin-East, he said it was a “quarterback-friendly” system in which the formations are designed based on the talent he has from year to year.
“We want to make sure it’s easy to be tailor-made: spread, Wing-T, multiple (formations),” Phillips said. “It’s really a multiple approach, spread-style. We try to do that best things to create matchups that are favorable for us.”
Regarding the North Springs job, he’s tasked with turning around a program that has not won a game since Aug. 30, 2019 and has a 17-game losing streak.
“I want to come in and look at some of the reasons behind why this program may have gone down,” Phillips said. “When I look at it it’s got to be consistent hard work, but we’ve really got to compete. We haven’t competed in several years at the highest level. That’s how we’ll build the program to start winning again.
“Starting in the community with everybody, (I’m) trying to get as many young players as we can. On the long haul, I’ll have a five-year plan and make the five-year plan take shape. If you do those things, the wins will start coming.”