Representatives from the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) attended Morning Meeting on Monday, December 5 to surprise Brian Phillips, Trinity’s boys varsity soccer coach for the past 27 seasons, with a unique honor.
Sean Wetmore from Norfolk Academy and Pete Gambardella from Benedictine presented Phillips with the inaugural Charlie Blair Award for Excellence in Coaching, named for Charlie Blair who “set a golden standard in this regard during his 37 years as head coach at Collegiate.”
“The recipient has exhibited to an exemplary degree the qualities of respect for the game and the people who play it, has conducted himself as a gentleman in all interactions and has therefore been a credit to the coaching profession,” the award states.
“Like Coach Phillips we were honored every day to coach this great sport against excellent teams that play the game the right way and are led by men who cared more about their players than the score,” said Wetmore. “When this award was established at the occasion of Coach Blair’s retirement we agreed that it would not be given every year, rather we would give it only when a deserving nominee came to our attention. In fact this is the first award we have ever given, and our committee voted unanimously to give the award this year to Coach Phillips.”
Following a season in which the Trinity boys soccer team advanced farther than it ever has before in the VISAA postseason, Wetmore noted: “Even and perhaps especially during years where he doesn’t have the most talent, Coach Phillips is always able to build teams that are tough to play and committed to each other, a winning combination by any measure.”
In accepting the award, Phillips passed along the praise. “This award really belongs to generations of young men who put their trust in the coaching staff and show up every day and have the same values and desire to play hard but do it in the right way,” he said. “Thank you to all of those players — those of you here in their room and those of you who have been a part of the process, so to speak, since 1996.”
The official wording of the award is as follows: The Charlie Blair Award for Excellence in Coaching recognizes excellence in coaching, as demonstrated by Charlie Blair during his 37 year tenure as head boys coach at Collegiate School. The recipient has exhibited to an exemplary degree the qualities of respect for the game and the people who play it, has conducted himself as a gentleman in all interactions and has therefore been a credit to the coaching profession.