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Phillips a top assistant

By Brian Hillabush

There is further proof that being a solid role player for the Batavia High basketball team is a great place to start if you want to get into college coaching.

Last week we reported that Joe Zinni had recently accepted an assistant coaching position with Saginaw Valley State University women's basketball, and now Russ Phillips is moving up the ladder at his college alma-matter, SUNY Cortland. He will be serving as the top assistant to coach Tom Spanbauer this winter.

Phillips led Batavia's team on the floor as a point guard and that knowledge along with the work ethic it takes to play BHS coach Buddy Brasky's high-octane pressure defense has translated well into his coaching career.

 Phillips went right from his playing days to coaching when he started working as an assistant coach for the Batavia jayvee program in 2004. 

He picked up valuable experience as an assistant with both the jayvee and varsity squads at BHS for two years. During that time he also was the head coach for four different Rochester Area Players AAU teams. He also worked as a member of the Board of Directors for RAP where he was involved in planning AAU tournaments.

Phillips has also been Brasky's assistant coach for the Western Scholastic boys basketball teams at the Empire State Games for the past two summers.

At Cortland, he got his start in college coaching as a team manager during the 2006-2007 season, where he handled film work along with game and practice preparation.

He was promoted to student-assistant coach last year.

His work in assisting Spanbauer, scouting, coordinating practice and game day video along with breaking down statistics earned him the top assistant position.

Phillips appears to be on the fast-track to achieving his career goal of being a head basketball coach for a college team.

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