Tuesday, December 23, 2014 | 6:12 PM
In just his second year at Phillips, head coach Steve Spiller led his team from a 5-6 record to the first 10-win season in the school and its first playoff win since 1988.
The Bears closed the regular season with six consecutive wins to finish second in Class 1A, Region 8 and earn their first state ranking since 1970. Phillips defeated Wadley 35-12 in the opening round of the playoffs before falling in overtime to state runner-up Hubbertville a week later.
For his accomplishments, Spiller is the TimesDaily Class 1A-3A Coach of the Year.
"All of the credit goes to the great group of kids and coaches that I had,” Spiller said. “When I took over I told the team that we are going to work hard and just keep getting better. You could see the potential was there and that they wanted to win. Our season was just a credit to the work ethic that this team had.
Phillips (10-2) averaged 39.9 points per game behind all-state wide receiver Tyler Crumpton and company, while allowing its opponents just 19 points per game.It was Spiller’s first full offseason at his alma mater, after serving as Haleyville’s head coach from 2000 to 2009. He took over for longtime head coach Gary McCarley, who accepted an assistant principal position at Brilliant in August 2013.
We got a lot of experience last year, Spiller said. We didn't have a lot of time to get ready, but it was a great learning experience for the team. Having players like Tyler (Crumpton), Austin Campbell and Josef Bates and a great coaching staff makes a big difference. Everyone bought in to what we wanted to do and worked really hard.”
A 1976 graduate of the school, Spiller thanked the community for its contributions.
I've lived there for 23 years, Spiller said. It was great to see all of the excitement from everyone in the community and we are thankful for all the support we received."
Thanks to the Times Daily for this story and picking a great man for Coach of the Year.