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Valencia High hires Chad Phillips as boys hoops coach

Posted: June 25, 2014 11:42 a.m.
Updated: June 25, 2014 11:42 a.m.

Former Canyon High head boys basketball coach Chad Phillips will be taking over the Valencia program.


Valencia High School made a big splash on Wednesday by hiring former Canyon basketball head coach Chad Phillips to lead its program.

Phillips, who won three Foothill League titles and 200 games with the Cowboys between 2001 and 2012, replaces Rocket Collins, who was relieved of his duties by Valencia on June 6 after 13 seasons as Vikings head coach.

Phillips resigned as Canyon coach after the 2012 season so he could spend more time with his family. However, he said at the time that he didn’t feel like he was done with coaching.

Now he leaves his alma mater for its crosstown rival.

“I got to leave Canyon on my own terms in 2012. ... It was the right thing at the time. I will always be proud of the memories and friendships I made at Canyon. I believe it’s a special place,” Phillips said. “The people closest to me, they all knew my passion bucket was full. It’s probably overflowing. It was a matter of time before I was going to get back into it.”

Phillips isn’t coming alone.

Chuck Johns, who led Canyon girls basketball the last five seasons, winning five Foothill titles and 122 games, will be Phillips’ assistant.

“He was the dealmaker,” Phillips said on his decision to apply for the Valencia job. “Chuck is the most qualified, successful coach I could fathom. He will bring his expertise to the bench, and it will be fun.”

Johns resigned from Canyon after this season for a family commitment, but had a change of heart.

Phillips replaces a coach who took his teams to 12 postseasons, won four Foothill League titles and compiled a 244-117 record overall.

Collins was told on June 6 that he would be replaced because of non-basketball reasons.

Valencia administrators told The Signal it was because the school wanted to move in a different direction.

Phillips, who coached against Collins for a decade, said he has the utmost respect for the job Collins did.

“I 100 percent respect the commitment coach Collins gave to Valencia throughout the years,” Phillips said. “I can only hope to contribute to mold the Valencia students into positive role models like he did.”

Valencia Athletic Director Brian Stiman said Valencia chose Phillips from 12 applicants.

His teaching background played a major role in the hire. Phillips was the William S. Hart Union High School District’s Teacher of the Year in 2012.

“Chad is a very, very good teacher first and foremost,” Stiman said. “He’s known as one of the best teachers in the Hart district. That’s what stood out quite a bit. Then his resume. He’s recognized as one of the best basketball coaches in this valley.”

Phillips understands that facing Canyon for the first time will be a unique situation.

“The moment I put on the purple and gold, I’m now competing against Canyon,” Phillips said.


michaelmyers1: Posted: June 25, 2014 3:47 p.m.

Rocket is a good man.....

korymetcalf: Posted: June 26, 2014 6:50 a.m.

I have to say that I am extremely proud of my friend of 25+ years. From an early age is was clear that Chad was destined to lead. Even at 13 or 14 years old he exhibited the qualities of a passionate leader and teacher. I am sure that Chad will do great things at Valencia just as Rocket and our former coach Greg Hayes did. I have also known Rocket for about that same amount of time. He used to let scrawny kids like me into the gym on Sunday mornings to play. Rocket has always been a favorite of mine and a great teacher of the game. I hope that he will find another job coaching sometime soon. --edited.

TLPalmer32: Posted: June 26, 2014 7:30 p.m.

Chad Phillips is a phenomenal teacher, coach and person. Valencia could not have picked a better man to push them in their "new direction." It's unfortunate they had to let go of someone so well loved in Rocket, but they certainly have hired an excellent leader. --edited.

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