Courtesy of Tennessee State Athletics:
NASHVILLE – Former Tennessee State Athletics Director and head women’s basketball coach Teresa Lawrence Phillips has been named a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
Phillips served Tennessee State University for 31 years as women’s basketball coach, administrator, and Director of Athletics.
She arrived at TSU as the head women’s basketball coach in 1989. From 1989-2000 she led the Tigers to their first Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships, while also leading the Tigers to their first NCAA tournament appearance. She won 144 games in 11 seasons, winning back-to-back OVC titles in 1994 and 1995, and was twice named OVC Coach of the Year.
After her coaching career concluded, Phillips became the interim Athletic Director at TSU in 2001 and had the tag removed in 2002 becoming the full-time Athletic Director and held this position until she retired in 2020. When she retired in 2020, she was part of the 15.3% of women athletic directors. A few of her TSU athletics accomplishments include launching the first official TSU athletics website, building an indoor practice facility, securing the NCAA pilot grant, and serving as the men’s head basketball coach for one game in 2003.
During her tenure as A.D., TSU won 12 OVC Championships, including five indoor track and field championships, three outdoor track and field championships, two volleyball titles, and one women’s basketball championship.
Prior to her arrival at TSU in 1989, Phillips served as the head women’s basketball coach at Fisk University as she was hired for the 1984 season. The Bulldogs went 62-38 under Phillips and won two conference titles in five seasons. She was named the WIAC coach of the year in 1987 and 1988.
After wrapping up her playing career and graduating from Vanderbilt in 1980, Phillips joined the Vanderbilt coaching staff in 1981 and stayed on staff until 1984, winning the women’s NIT tournament in 1984.
Phillips arrived at Vanderbilt in 1976 after graduating from Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga where she was the second African American student to attend and the first black player on the basketball team. Phillips attended Vanderbilt on an academic scholarship and was asked to join the first-ever Vanderbilt women’s basketball team in 1978. She was the first African American student-athlete at Vanderbilt and went on to play three different sports. As a senior in 1980, she was awarded the first-ever Athlete of the Year Award.
In 2003, Sports Illustrated named her one of the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports. In 2014, the Women’s Final Four named her one of the 10 Legends in Women’s Basketball in Tennessee. She was inducted into the Vanderbilt Hall of Fame in 2017 and the OVC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2021.
The 2023 Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Saturday, July 22 at the Omni Nashville Downtown.