Sue Phillips dipped her toes into the college coaching waters briefly before returning to the prep level at Archbishop Mitty-San Jose.
Clovis West coach Craig Campbell is leaving the door ajar for college opportunities, but says that’s unlikely for at least two years.
This is certain: The coaches who will play chess Saturday night at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center have phenomenal credentials, winning a combined 80 percent of their games and 35 section titles in 47 years. Phillips also has won six state crowns in three divisions at Mitty.
“I think Craig would certainly be an asset at the next level,” says Phillips, who will oppose him in the CIF State Open Division girls basketball championship game at 6 p.m in a duel of nationally ranked teams. “I have a tremendous respect for Craig and the job he does and their brand of basketball. They are hard-nosed, execute and are fun to watch.”
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The admiration is mutual.
“There are a lot of coaches in California, like Sue at Mitty and Kevin (Kiernan) at Mater Dei (Santa-Ana), who would be successful in college,” Campbell says. “When you’ve been successful in high school for 15 to 20 years, those coaches would be successful at the next level, no question.”
I’m blessed with great kids on a yearly basis.
Archbishop Mitty coach Sue Phillips on why she may stick with high school coaching, rather than considering a return to the college level
Phillips, who coached the 2014 USA girls U17 world championship team, is one of the winningest girls or boys coaches in state history at 638-123 (.838) in 24 years at Mitty.
She was the lead assistant at Cal in 2000-01 before returning to Mitty, where she teaches math, and was a 1986 graduate before becoming an All-Big Ten softball player at Northwestern.
Phillips says there were “multiple factors” in coming back to the preps: “I did miss being in the classroom along with working with and mentoring these young women at an impressionable age. I loved college and working with elite athletes, but (high school) is truly my niche.”
She’s 48 and expects to complete her career at the private school of 1,670 located on the pulse of the Silicon Valley in west San Jose.
“I’d like to think my employer finds value in me and the idea of me retiring at Archbishop Mitty,” she says. “I’m blessed with great kids on a yearly basis. It’s a great place. We’re next to the world headquarters of Apple. This is the tech capital of the world; it’s pretty cool.”
Cool is also coaching at Clovis West, the winningest girls basketball program (845-257, 40 years) in the section, according to historian Bob Barnett.
And Campbell, 45, has taken it to another level at 265-71 (.789) in 12 years.
You only get 18 years under your roof; I don’t want to be on the road recruiting when my kids are growing up.
Clovis West coach Craig Campbell on the importance of stability in his family life
He, too, lists several reasons to stay, beginning with four. They are his children: 16-year-old twins Mason and Madison, Kinley, 5, and Bowen, 1.
“I don’t want to uproot my family and jump around every three years,” he says. “You only get 18 years under your roof; I don’t want to be on the road recruiting when my kids are growing up.”
“Seeing Mason and Maddie graduate here is important to me,” Dad says. “For me, if there is a great (college) job out there, 99 of them will be out there another day.”
He remembers a college basketball analyst on television once referring to a statement made by the late coach Jim Valvano: “Don’t screw up happy.”
“And that kind of resonated with me,” Campbell says. “I’m happy with what I’m doing; I’m very engrained with family and our district. I love our school and feeder program.”
He then cited seven assistants through seventh grade, including varsity deputies Mark Howard and Duane Steward: “I want to emphasize what a great staff I have. They are a huge key to our sustained success.”
All that said: “I would never say never to anything if the right opportunity came knocking. I would listen, I would see what it’s about. A lot of people speculate when Maddie graduates, I will jump to college. But I don’t have any end sight to my career at this point.”
Open Division final
CLOVIS WEST VS. ARCHBISHOP MITTY-SAN JOSE
- Saturday: 6 p.m. at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento
- Records: Golden Eagles 33-2, Monarchs 28-2
- Cal-Hi state rankings: Clovis West No. 2, Mitty No. 1
- National rankings: Eagles No. 1 by USA Today Sports Computer Rankings; No. 2 by MaxPreps Computer Rankings; No. 7 by MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Rankings; Monarchs No. 1 by USA Today Sports Computer Rankings and MaxPreps Computer Rankings; No. 5 by MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Rankings.
- College bound: Clovis West, Bre’yanna Sanders (Arizona State), Megan Anderson (San Jose State), Danae Marquez (San Jose State), Sarah Bates (UC Santa Barbara), Tess Amundsen (Boise State); Mitty, Madeline Holland (St. Mary’s), Heleyna Hill (San Jose State), Tahlia Garza (UC Irvine), Daniella Guglielmo (UC Irvine).
- Round I: Mitty defeated Clovis West 76-75 in overtime Dec. 10 for the championship of the Iolani Classic in Honolulu in a game Monarchs 5-foot-3 junior guard Krissy Miyahara made her first seven 3-pointers and finished with eight overall for 24 points. She hasn’t made more than four 3s or scored more than 12 points in any game since. Mitty shot 52 percent that game, is shooting 53 percent for the season and has three players shooting better than 60 percent.
- Broadcast information: All 12 division championship games from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday will be carried live by Comcast SportsNet in addition to live streaming online at www.myspectrumsports.com/2017CIFBBChampionships.
- Tickets: Kings Row I, $36.75; Kings Row II, $31.50; Kings Row III, $26.25; adults, $16.80; seniors, $10.50; students and children, $10.