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Crash claims father of 3 D-I players

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The father of three current Division I football players was one of five passengers who died in plane crash Monday in Alaska that also claimed the life of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

Bill Phillips, who played football for Evansville in the 1970s, died when the single-engine plane crashed on an mountainside while en route to a fishing vacation. He was 56.

Mr. Phillips, an attorney and lobbyist, has three sons playing college football across the country. Andrew Phillips is a senior guard at Stanford. Colter is a sophomore tight end at Virginia, while Paul is a freshman tight end at Indiana.

Mr. Phillips' youngest son, William Jr., 13, was on board the plane and survived. He was taken to an Anchorage, Alaska, hospital with undisclosed injuries.

Investigators are still trying to determine why the float plane crashed.

Mr. Phillips played football at Evansville from 1972-76, and his wife, Janet, was a college swimmer who now competes in equestrian events.

Michigan: Projected starting cornerback J.T. Turner asked for and was granted his release, the school announced.

Nebraska: Senior offensive lineman Mike Smith is out for the season because of a broken leg. Coach Bo Pelini said Smith, who started 14 games at left tackle last season but slated for a backup role, was injured during a contact drill Tuesday.

Southern Cal: Running back Dillon Baxter, a prized freshman who figured prominently in the offense's plans, was suspended for the season opener at Hawaii for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Coach Lane Kiffin said, "It was imperative to make a strong message, especially to our first group of freshmen our first year here, and potentially the most talented player on the team, that we have high standards for our players on and off the field."

Wyoming: Coach Dave Christensen suspended kicker Ian Watts, reserve cornerback Kenny Browder and freshman running back Nehemie Kankolongo for the opener against Southern Utah for undisclosed violations of team rules.

Montana State firing of coach upheld

HELENA, Mont. — Montana State was right to fire former women's basketball coach Robin Potera-Haskins in March 2004 and may not have done so soon enough, a federal judge ruled.

Potera-Haskins filed a wrongful discharge lawsuit against the school, but most of her claims were dismissed, with the exception of a sexual discrimination claim that the women's basketball program was given inferior treatment compared to the men's program.

During a four-day bench trial before U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon in April, former players testified that Potera-Haskins was verbally abusive, that she lied to them and displayed erratic behavior. Six players left the team or the university after the 2002-03 season.

Potera-Haskins said she plans to appeal.

During the trial, former player Jinnifer Jeresek testified that she turned down a U.S. Senate internship to play her senior season after Potera-Haskins promised to help her obtain a $25,000 law school scholarship that Jeresek later learned did not exist.

Potera-Haskins denied Jeresek's scholarship story and testified that athletic director Peter Fields forced her to put his daughter on the team and give her a full scholarship, which she argued undermined the women's program in violation of Title IX.

Crash claims father of 3 D-I players 08/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2010 12:00am]

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