Pike County hires former Huntingdon star Daniel Phillips to lead baseball program

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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This week, Pike County High School announced the hiring of new head baseball coach Daniel Phillips.

Phillips is a Highland Home native and was a three-time All-State baseball player as a designated hitter and outfielder at Highland Home High School. He started his college baseball career at Coastal Alabama Community College in Brewton, earning First-Team All-West Division in 2020 and once being named the Junior College (JUCO) Player of the Week. After a successful stint at Coastal, he transferred to Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

At Huntingdon, Phillips excelled athletically and academically. He was named to Huntingdon’s Dean’s List three times and earned conference All-Academic honors in 2023. On the baseball field, Phillips was named to the Collegiate Conference of the South All-Tournament team in 2023 and earned All-Conference First-Team honors and All-Region First-Team honors in 2023. He also earned Conference Player of the Week honors twice.

Daniel Phillips was a star player at Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

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During his three-year career at Huntingdon, Phillips boasted a .365 batting average with a .525 slugging percentage, .474 on-base percentage, 29 doubles, seven triples, 10 home runs, 87 RBIs, 143 runs and 35 stolen bases. In the outfield, he earned a .986 fielding percentage with just three errors in his entire career in 212 total chances. He tallied 204 putouts with five assists during his 116 games.

Phillips, who recently graduated from Huntingdon, was awarded the Physical Educator of the Year Award in 2024, which is awarded to the Huntingdon Sports Science and Physical Education student “who demonstrates distinguished academic achievement, character, leadership and service above fellow prospective graduates.”

While Pike County will be Phillips’ first head coaching job, it’s also his first coaching job of any kind. He knew that he wanted to be a coach long ago, however.

“The person that inspired me the most is my dad,” Phillips emphasized. “He played college football at a junior college in Mississippi and then went on to become an athletic director after he graduated from Troy (University) and was the director at Chisholm Community Center in Montgomery.”

At that community center is where Phillips found his love for coaching.

“That’s where I saw my dad change lives for the better and mentor kids in the community and coach those kids,” Phillips recalled. “I saw the difference he made in those kids’ lives and it made me want to be able to help change kids lives. I want to change every kid’s life for the better that comes my way.”

Phillips is now turning his attention to changing the culture around Pike County Baseball.

“I like the challenge and I know that the baseball program has been down for a number of years and I think it’s something I can help build on and I plan on building it up,” Phillips emphasized. “It starts with the culture. These kids have to love baseball, not just like baseball.

“That starts with me, they have to see that I love baseball and I care for these kids and I want the best for them and I that I will help them anyway possible. If they see that, especially at a young age, we won’t see our kids going to other schools either.”

Phillips isn’t worrying with lofty goals to start things off as she says he’s concentrating on improving the baseball program one day at a time.

“I’m a believer in not looking too far ahead in the future,” he continued. “We just have to take it one step at a time. My motto for the team is to get 1 percent better each and every day and worry about ourselves. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, as long as we’re getting better.”