A former Manchester High School basketball standout who helped lead teams to championships at every level he played has died following an accident at his home.
Mike Phillips, 59, died as the result of a fall Saturday in his home in Madisonville, Ky., according to multiple media reports.
Phillips led Manchester to a 26-0 record and the 1974 state Class AA (midsized schools) state title. The Panthers defeated Cincinnati McNicholas, 75-58, in their state semifinal, then Columbus Bishop Hartley, 72-52, in the championship game.
He scored 38 points in the state title game, capping a career that saw Manchester post an 82-11 overall record during his four years on the varsity team.
Phillips finished his career with 2,573 points, which was recognized at the time as the state record, having bested Jerry Lucas’ total of 2,460 points from 1955-58 at Middletown. It was later discovered that Rex Leach at old Vienna High (now Vienna Mathews) from 1951-55 had scored 2,581 points, and he was recognized as the new state record-holder. Phillips is now No. 6 on the all-time list.
He was a two-time Class AA Player of the Year and a high school All-American.
For the next four years, Phillips played college basketball at the University of Kentucky, where he was the starting center on the 1978 national championship team.
During his career at UK, he averaged 11.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Former UK coach Joe B. Hall told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Phillips was courageous and a “gentle giant.”
New Jersey drafted Phillips with the 45th overall pick in 1978, but he never played in the NBA. He did play 13 seasons in Spain, averaging about 23 points and nine rebounds per game, and won a league championship in 1981.
In 1994, Phillips was inducted into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame.
Visitation will be 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday at Barnett-Strother Funeral Home in Madisonville until the funeral service, at 11 a.m. at Victory Church in Madisonville.
For more information, go to www.barnettstrother.com/