Anyone that's ever spent time with Neosho head wrestling coach Jeremy Phillips knows how serious he values hard work. He not only preaches it, but makes every effort to instill the concept of working hard into the lives of his athletes.
Well, that hard work not only paid off for his state-champion Wildcats this season, but for him personally, as well.
A man who's coached three state championship teams in the past four years, it's possible to surmise that there's not much else left for him to prove in his career after the Wildcats won a share of the title with Kearney this season. If that wasn't the pinnacle for him, however, perhaps Monday's news was: Phillips has been named Missouri Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
Phillips, who has been named District Coach of the Year six times, and Missouri Coach of the Year twice by the Missouri High School Coaches Association, apparently caught the attention of the national voters with this award. It's the first time he's been selected Coach of the Year by the scholastic division of the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
Never one to bathe in personal accomplishments, Phillips heaped praise on the support he's received from others.
"(I) have a great group of kids, assistant coaches and parents that work with me to accomplish special things," Phillips said. "In addition, (we have) administration, a board, booster club and AD (athletic director) that support our efforts.
"That's nice to receive recognition from the national association."
Neosho athletic director Corey Roy, meanwhile, heaped praise on Phillips for a job well done.
"We are very excited and proud for Coach Phillips," Roy said. "His constant work for perfection is very admirable. He represents Neosho very well as a coach and leads his program in many ways. We are lucky to have him and representing us."
In his time at the helm Phillips has shaped the Wildcat wrestling program into one of the premier powerhouse programs in the state, which has helped gain national attention for the program and it's individuals through their success on the mats.