Arkansas high school football coach honored with 2019 Gatorade Coaching Excellence Award

Local Sports

CHICAGO – An Arkansas high school football coach is in the national spotlight.

Lake Hamilton’s Tommy Gilleran has won the 2019 Gatorade Coaching Excellence Award. He splits the honor with Archbishop Mitty’s (California) Sue Phillips.

Gilleran and Phillips will be honored, along with the 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year nominees, at the Athlete of the Year Dinner in Los Angeles, California, July 9. The celebration will continue as the winners walk the red carpet at the 2019 ESPYS, alongside some of the world’s most iconic figures in sports.

The Gatorade Coaching Excellence Award was established in 2016 to honor the best and most dedicated high school coaches across the country, says a news release. Every athlete, professional, or amateur has had a coach inspire them along the way, and it’s Gatorade’s aim to celebrate the truly remarkable impact that coaches have on high school athletes. Each year, Gatorade honors two coaches who have made a particularly impressive positive impact on the lives of their student-athletes and whose commitment to the coaching profession goes far beyond the game.

“We are proud to honor two individuals whose hard work and dedication to their players’ success extends far beyond the hardwood and turf,” said Jeff Kearney, Global Head of Sports Marketing for Gatorade. “For Sue and Tommy, coaching doesn’t stop at the final whistle, but continues through the lasting impact they have on young women and men.”

Tommy Gilleran – Head Football Coach, Lake Hamilton High School. While Tommy is in his first couple of seasons as Lake Hamilton’s coach, he has brought four of his five teams to the playoffs during his Fountain Lake coaching tenure. Further, his leadership extends far beyond the field for the players at Lake Hamilton. Tommy has had a large impact on many of his athletes, even going so far as to “adopting” one. Tommy’s “adopted” son eventually became his assistant football coach and teaches biology at Lake Hamilton. Previously served as Fountain Lake’s head football coach and led the team to the 2009 Class 3A championship in back-to-back finals appearances. Four out of five of Gilleran’s Fountain Lake teams made the playoffs. Gilleran’s Fountain Lake team compiled a 104-52-2 winning record.

“When Tommy found out he won the award, he was humbled, and that’s exactly why his players connect with him. Tommy understands that coaching is all about making a difference in the players’ lives, not his own,” said Rick Waters, Lake Hamilton High School Athletic Director.

Gilleran received this award at a ceremony inside Lake Hamilton’s Wolf Arena in April.

Sue Phillips – Women’s Basketball Head Coach, Archbishop Mitty High School. Under her tenure, Sue has created one of the top-ranked teams. Her record shows it with 22 league, 21 Central Coast Section (CCS), 12 NorCal and six California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state championships with a national title win in 2018. One of her current players, Haley Jones, is ranked as the No. 1 women’s basketball recruit. Phillips has been named National Coach of the Year by Naismith and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Phillips’ coaching record stands at 692 wins and 128 losses. In 2014, she served as the head coach for the USA Basketball U17 team and led the team to a gold medal in the World Championships.

“One thing you’ll notice about Sue is that she teaches values first and basketball second. She leads through example with encouragement and hard work. Everything she does is for her players,” said Brian Eagleson, Archbishop Mitty High School Director of Athletic Programs.

Phillips was honored at a celebration at Archbishop Mitty in early April.

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