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Princeton High School girls basketball coach Jill Phillips decides to step away from coaching

Jill Phillips.jpg
Posted at 5:21 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 21:09:51-04

SHARONVILLE, Ohio — Jill Phillips believes that Princeton High School is synonymous with family.

That's why Phillips spoke with emotion in her voice as she decided Tuesday to step away from the girls basketball program after 325 wins in 17 seasons overall as the Princeton head coach.

"I've been fortunate to coach so many successful players at Princeton," Phillips told WCPO. "I attribute my success to having good players. And not only having good players, but good people."

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Phillips, who just completed her fifth season in her second stint at Princeton, said she is looking forward to spending more time with family and doesn't plan to coach anywhere again.

Phillips will continue to teach mathematics at the school.

"She's been outstanding," Princeton athletic director Joe Roberts said. "I appreciate everything she's absolutely done for us."

The school plans to post the head coaching position.

Princeton had a 15-7 record this past season, including 10-5 in the Greater Miami Conference.

Phillips made a significant impact at Princeton, the GMC and around Greater Cincinnati. She is the school’s all-time leader in girls basketball coaching wins.

"Jill is without a doubt one of my favorite people on the planet," said Lakota West athletic director Scott Kaufman, a former Princeton AD.

"She is so passionate about kids. So passionate about basketball."

Phillips led Princeton to the Division I state title in 2014 – the program’s first state championship since 1987.

She coached former Ohio State All-American guard Kelsey Mitchell at Princeton as Mitchell won the Ohio Ms. Basketball Award in 2014.

Phillips coached for 12 seasons at Princeton before being named the Lakota East coach from 2014-2016. She returned to Princeton in 2016.

Phillips began her high school coaching coaching career in 1999 at Scott High School in Northern Kentucky and was hired at Princeton in 2002. A former University of Georgia student-athlete, Phillips coached for 27 years overall.

Phillips never had a losing season while coaching high school basketball. She had a 375-110 record overall in high school including 359-97 in Ohio.

"Jill has always advocated strongly for her girls and for girls basketball in general," Lakota West coach Andy Fishman said. "She will be missed in the GMC for sure – but more importantly as a public school coach giving access and opportunity to the students of Princeton."

Phillips said she enjoyed the rapport with her teams on and off the court.

"The kids played so hard," she said. "I think kids play hard when they know you care about them and you build genuine relationships with people. I learned that."

Kaufman said Phillips is one of the top coaches he's hired in his 25 years as a high school athletic director.

"She's had a phenomenal career," Kaufman said. "She's impacted hundreds of kids' lives and she did it the right away, and there is something to be said for that."