When Oschlor Flemming left Guyer two weeks ago to become the head football coach at Fort Bend Dulles, Guyer head coach and athletic director John Walsh had two positions to fill.
He hired Marvin Nash to replace Flemming as the team’s running backs coach, and didn’t have to look far to replace Flemming as the boys head track coach.
Russ Phillips, who was a first-year wide receivers coach at Guyer in 2013, has been tabbed to take over the boys track program.
“When I first got to know Russ, he was the track coach at Lewisville and they were contending for the 5A state title,” Walsh said. “It was an easy decision to make him the track coach. I think our track team is at a high level right now, and he’s just going to add to it.”
Guyer already has shown to be a powerhouse on the track this season. The Wildcats have the top 110-meter hurdler in the nation, according to the FLO100 list at MileSplit.com, in Tennessee signee Jalen Hunter. They have the fifth-fastest time nationally in the 800 relay, a team comprising Logien Franklin, Anthony Taylor, Jerrod Heard and Hunter.
Phillips spent 13 years at Lewisville as the “right-hand man” to longtime head track coach Ray White before leaving to become the head football and track coach at Ponder, where he was until last summer.
“It’s good timing for me,” Phillips said. “I knew we were going to be talented. ... It’s definitely a good situation for me. I’ve been able to step up into a seasoned group of tracksters that are very talented.”
In his 13 years at Lewisville, the Farmers won 11 district championships and three regional championships. Phillips coached 12 individual state champions.
While heading up the program at Ponder, Phillips coached two district and area championship relay teams.
Walsh said it is important to have someone from the football staff heading up the boys track program because most of the team is made up of football players.
“Track is a huge extension of our football program,” Walsh said. “Most of our track team is our football team. It was definitely beneficial to have a guy on our staff that is as knowledgeable as he is to slide right in there.”
Phillips’ extensive background in both sports will allow him another outlet for coaching and give the football program a hand in its players’ offseason work.
“I think it’s very important to have football kids in track,” Phillips said. “In the same respect, that’s why we do powerlifting with linemen — to get them competing. It’s easy to get caught in a trap of doing nothing in the spring as far as competition goes.
“I think it’s important to compete year-round to be a better athlete. I think track makes you a better athlete and makes you more explosive in the sport you participate in.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.