Now in her fifth year as the head women's cross country/track and field coach at Miami University, Kelly Phillips wasted no time making her mark as she led the cross country team to its second-straight Mid-American Conference championship in 2009 just three months into the job. She was also named MAC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year for her efforts.
Phillips continued to make an impact on Miami's cross country program in her second year (2010), as she coached Rachel Patterson to a berth in the NCAA Championship. Patterson was just the eighth female RedHawk in school history to make the NCAA Championship and came within three seconds and six places of earning All-America honors, as she finished 46th. Patterson also broke the 6K school record at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional where she was fifth.
Patterson continued to progress under Phillips in track, earning a berth in the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 5000m run, where she was an Honorable Mention All-American. Patterson also won three MAC titles in her final year at Miami, capturing the 5K and 3K indoors to earn Most Outstanding Track Performer while winning the 10K at the MAC Outdoor Championships. She also broke the school's indoor and outdoor 5K records under Phillips' watch.
In 2010 and 2011, Phillips guided the RedHawks to third-place finishes at the MAC Cross Country Championship, producing at least two All-MAC performers each year. In 2012, Miami took runner-up at the conference meet, and in 2013 Phillips led women's cross country to another MAC Championship title, beating out three-time defending champion Toledo for the win. In just her fifth year at Miami, Phillips has overseen 16 All-MAC honorees and two All-Great Lakes Region recipients in cross country.
In the 2011-12 track and field season, the RedHawks achieved great individual success, as Miami produced six All-MAC performers, including two individual champions, and for the third straight year sent five athletes to the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds with one, Tori Paterra, earning First-Team All-America honors in the javelin. Phillips specifically coached Kelley Miller to a MAC outdoor title in the 1500m run for the second time in her career while she also broke the school record in the event earlier in the season and was one of the five to compete at the East Prelims.
As a team, Phillips led the 'Hawks to third-place finishes at both the Indoor and Outdoor MAC Championships in 2010-11, with the indoor finish tying for the best in school history. Again five RedHawks qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, including Patterson and Paterra, who made the NCAA Championships. Eleven RedHawks garnered All-MAC honors in track in 2011 as well, including four individual MAC champions outdoors and two indoors.
In her first season guiding the track and field program, Phillips saw four school records fall during the indoor campaign, including the mile run, the 3000m and the 5000m. Miller won the Indoor MAC Championship in the mile while the RedHawks' distance medley relay team also captured a MAC indoor title under Phillips' guidance. Outdoors, Phillips helped her athletes break four more school marks while Amanda Mirochna repeated as MAC champion in the steeplechase and Miller claimed the 1500m.
The cross country team has been named an All-Academic Team by the USTFCCCA in each of Phillips' five years at Miami, and the track and field team has garnered All-Academic Team honors the past four years. Twenty-eight 'Hawks have been named Academic All-MAC in track, including 10 in 2011-12, and 11 have landed on the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team during Phillips' tenure. Thirteen RedHawks have also earned Academic All-MAC honors in cross country in Phillips' five years, while the cross country team won Miami Athletics' Hal Jasper Award for community service in 2009-10.
Before coming to Oxford, Phillips served as the assistant women's cross country/track and field coach at Purdue University. She coached middle and long-distance runners for four seasons at Purdue and brought 10 years of experience coaching in collegiate athletics to Miami. During the course of her coaching career, Phillips has guided 36 student-athletes to the NCAA Championships in either cross country or track and field.
During her stint with the Boilermakers, Phillips saw the Purdue Varsity Cross Country Course 5K record broken and the second-fastest 6K time posted, while the women's cross country team earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors each year she was there and took home Purdue's President's Cup, awarded to the team with the highest grade point average, two consecutive seasons.
Prior to Purdue, Phillips took a break from coaching and founded Claremont Trails Running Camp in Claremont, New Hampshire, which she helped grow from 12 campers to over 100 in just three years directing and establishing the camp.
Before stepping away from coaching to open Claremont Trails, Phillips worked at South Florida from 1997-2001. During her time in Tampa, she served as the men's and women's associate cross country/track and field coach, and later the head coach. While working for the Bulls, Phillips guided 33 student-athletes to the NCAA Championships and helped South Florida claim the women's cross country crown twice (1998, 1999), including the team's first-ever league title, and the men's cross country Conference USA title in 2000. She also made sure her teams were achieving in the classroom, as the women's cross country team earned Academic All-America honors from 1998-2000, while the men's team achieved the distinction in 2000. For her efforts, Phillips was named Conference USA Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year twice and Men's Coach of the Year once, as well as the league's Women's Track and Field Coach of the Year in her final season with the Bulls. From 1998-2000, she also was awarded the NCAA's South Region Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Phillips also served as the meet director for Conference USA's Cross Country Championships in 1998 and the league's Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2001. In addition, she helped fundraise over $70,000 during her tenure to help support the South Florida cross country and track and field teams by organizing road races in the Tampa Bay area.
"(Former head coach) Rich Ceronie started the distance tradition at Miami, and while only here a short time Rita (Arndt-Molis) took the Miami program to a new level," Phillips said upon her hire. "My primary goal is to take the championship culture that has been created and bring it to an even higher level on the cross country team and the track and field team. Miami is a place that can consistently have a national-caliber team, have graduates at the top of their class, and be a positive influence in the community. It will be my job to see that these things happen and I am very fortunate to have been given this opportunity."
Phillips got her start in coaching at her alma mater, Auburn University, as a graduate assistant coach from 1991-1993, working mainly with distance runners. As an athlete at Auburn, Phillips was a two-time All-American in the mile and 3000 meters and set 14 school records as a student-athlete. She earned her bachelor's degree in marketing from Auburn in 1991.
Phillips later went on to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 1500 meters in both 1992 and 1996. In 1995, she was also the Olympic Festival Champion in the 1500 meters and finished fifth at the Pan American Games in Argentina.
Phillips resides in Oxford with her two sons, Michael and Connor.
What they're saying about Phillips:
Brad Bates, Miami University Director of Athletics:
Jack Warner, Purdue University Head Men's and Women's Cross Country/Track & Field Coach:
THE PHILLIPS FILE
Education: Auburn, bachelor's degree in marketing (1991)
Collegiate Athletic Experience/Awards:
Results Roster Individual Composite Results Record Book/Media Supplement