AD Phillips Gearing Up For TSU Coaching Search

By Maurice Patton
Updated: December 15, 2004

NASHVILLE — With the application period for the vacant head football coaching position ending Monday, Tennessee State Athletics Director Teresa Phillips is ready officially to spring into action.

Unofficially, Phillips has been fielding calls — and making a few of her own — and perusing résumés since the Nov. 20 dismissal of James Reese.

That early legwork may help her achieve her optimistic objective of naming Reese’s successor before the beginning of the year.

”I don’t want to limit myself, but if I had my druthers, we’d have someone hired by Jan. 1,” she said. ”That’s not impossible, if we had someone we’re comfortable with that’s comfortable with us. That doesn’t always happen, but it could.”

Working against Phillips, obviously, is the holiday season. The TSU campus is closed from Dec. 23 until Jan. 3, which could create a delay.

”That’s the biggest challenge,” she said. ”Dealing with Christmas could pose a problem, but not necessarily.”

Phillips won’t have a dearth of candidates to consider. Alonzo Lee, assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at North Carolina A&T, and Southwest Missouri State assistant Ron Dickerson Jr. have both indicated interest.

”I think it can be an outstanding job,” said Lee, 46, who played against TSU during his collegiate career at Eastern Illinois and coached against the Tigers both at EIU and at Florida A&M. ”They’ve got a great tradition, and I think it’s a great situation.”

”Over their history, they’ve been very successful,” the 33-year-old Dickerson said. ”You have your bumps in the road, but I think it’s a stone’s throw away from being a dominant program. They’ve got good support, they’re in a good conference, and they play a good schedule.”

Other potential candidates include TSU letterman and coaching veteran Hubbard Alexander, North Texas offensive coordinator Ramon Flanigan, Dallas Cowboys defensive tackles coach Kacy Rodgers and North Carolina assistant head coach James Webster.

George Pugh, who went 19-10 in three seasons at Alabama A&M and is head coach at Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Ga., has also applied, although he would not comment when contacted.

Pugh, 51, spent the 2001-02 seasons on the staff at Arkansas as receivers and tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator, and has coached at Tennessee-Chattanooga, New Mexico, Pittsburgh, Texas A&M and Alabama-Birmingham.