With the annual alumni festivities set to take place this weekend, here we take a glance through the window into the story of Coach Sully, assistant coach, leader, and CUC alum.
In honor of Washington Adventist Alumni Weekend April 7-9, we present a product of WAU (CUC at the time), Coach Sullivan Phillips, AKA Coach "Sully". As men's basketball head assistant, Coach Sully just finished his fourth season with the Shock. He helped coach the team to the first USCAA National Championship in 2014, and to the NAIA National Tournament the last two years, finishing off with this year's Conference Tournament title. Before being on the staff here, Coach Sully is one of the few alumni to make it as a professional athlete, and with by far the most impressive career. He played overseas for 12 years, and while there he was also an ambassador for the University. He received various awards including being named the 2012 Bosman Most Valuable Player and Slovakian Men's National Basketball League title holder, along with Defensive Player of the Year both in Hungary and Cyprus during his professional tenure. As assistant coach, he not only leads in individual/skills workouts, but as a spiritual and motivational leader for a very special group of young men. Here, he shared just a small piece of what it means to be a WAU/CUC alum.
1. What years did you play at CUC?
2. What was your major here?
Social Work/Criminal Justice
3. What is your favorite memory from playing at CUC?
Probably travelling for the away games, going to the HSBC's, and playing on senior night
4. How do you think your career here prepared you to play overseas?
Playing at CUC helped a lot, I was versatile so I played multiple positions, and I played on both sides of the ball. I became a student of the game which helped me be successful overseas for a long time.
5. What does it mean to you to be able to give back to your alma mater?
It means everything to not only come back, but to win with so many limitations compared to other programs. It's pretty cool. For me, I just want to make sure guys don't make same mistakes I made and to help them become better men.
6. How is it coaching in the same gym you used to play in?
It's a totally different environment when I played vs coaching now. But I always loved the snug feeling of gym, for our opponents, having fans so close is not so cool.
7. How do you think the best team you played on would match up against this year's championship team?
My best college team would get destroyed by this present team; we didn't have size or cohesion to be good enough to play them. But my best pro team…. we were stacked from top to bottom! I love my guys but yea best pro team was unreal (haha).
8. How has CUC/WAU changed since you were a student here?
The school has become much more diverse, and in athletics I know we've made a conscious effort to be more spiritually aware and share more. That wasn't the case back when I played at CUC.
9. What changes would you like to see in the athletics department or on campus here?
In the future, I would love to more funds invested in sports programs. Maybe a new facility, just something that could generate new recruits and help get our sports programs on the map nationally, aside from the body of work we put into our respective sports.