It’s not official, but the Commercial Appeal is reporting that Vanderbilt has hired Whitehaven High School coach Faragi Phillips to be its third assistant coach, joining Adam Mazarei and David Grace on Jerry Stackhouse’s first staff. Phillips himself seemed to confirm his hiring via Twitter, though Vanderbilt hasn’t released anything:
2GBTG!— Faragi Phillips (@faragi11) May 20, 2019
We’ll try to piece together what we can about Phillips. He played college ball at Mississippi Valley State; his last year there was the 1998-99 season, when he averaged 20.9 ppg. He was the head coach at Memphis Mitchell from 2011-15 and won back-to-back state titles, and he’s been the head coach at Whitehaven for the last four seasons, where he finished as the state runner-up (to Memphis East and current Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway) in 2018, and the Tigers made it to the state semifinals in 2019. It’s not entirely clear what his coaching resume prior to 2011 looks like, but the last eight years alone look pretty impressive.
The more important factor here, as it often is when high school coaches get hired onto college staffs, is recruiting. On Whitehaven’s current roster are Matthew Murrell, a 6’4” shooting guard who’s currently ranked as the #85 prospect in the Class of 2020 in the 247 Sports composite, and 7’2” center Jordan Wilmore.