Phillips offered the comparison shortly after he was officially announced as the new St. Francis High baseball coach Thursday.
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“Don’t be afraid to make a mistake because you’ll be able to learn from it. I like to see kids get their education first and then enjoy playing baseball.”
Phillips, 40, has learned plenty about baseball during his coaching tenure. He served as an assistant coach at Occidental College the past four seasons before applying for the St. Francis job after Milam stepped down following a three-year run. St. Francis finished 9-18, 1-11 in the Mission League last season and didn't qualify for the playoffs.
St. Francis Athletic Director Matt Luderer said about 20-30 candidates applied for the post before the Golden Knights reached their decision.
“We’re fortunate to get somebody like him,” Luderer said. “He knows plenty about how to coach baseball and being very enthusiastic about it.
“He’s very positive and energetic. He’s got a lot of integrity and respect for the kids.”
Joining Phillips on the coaching staff will be David Feasler, a former Occidental player who will be the associate coach. Phillips, a native of Oregon, coached at Park City High in Park City, Utah, from 2005-10. He was the school’s associate coach from 2005-08 before becoming the team’s head coach the next two seasons.
Phillips attended Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Ore. He played catcher and infielder at Clackamas.
“I learned from a lot of people along the way, including from Greg Barton, who was a youth baseball coach of mine in Oregon,” Phillips said. “They teach you a lot and I learned that baseball makes me happy.
“This will be an unbelievable opportunity now for me at St. Francis. The players have the potential to get better and I want them to succeed not just in baseball, but in life.”