New Opportunities, New Adventures
A coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will in an entire lifetime.
I fully understand that no one wants a press release from the coach’s wife, but if you’ve been around for even a minute, then you know I’m a girl who always talks too much. On top of that, I’ve been an open book since we arrived in Tulsa, so it feels disingenuous to not express my thoughts and feelings when times are tough.
As you may have heard, Coach has been relieved of his duties as the Head Football Coach for the University of Tulsa. While we are sad to leave the home we’ve established here, I am eternally grateful for the eight years we’ve spent in Tulsa 💛💙❤️
Our two children graduated from the same high school, where they received a phenomenal education, overcame obstacles, discovered they’re both far stronger than they thought, and got to experience football together, Maci cheering on the sidelines and Cannon playing on the field. What a gift for coaches’ kids!
They both went on to attend TU, where we’ve lived this amazing football life in tandem: Maci flying on the coed cheer squad, Cannon playing for five years and serving this past season as a graduate assistant, Philip coaching, and me standing in as mom-away-from-home to our boys and volunteering to teach yoga for the team year-round. I’ve heard of sons playing for their dads, and daughters attending the same school, but I’m not aware of another family who had the incredible experience we’ve enjoyed. Together 🙏
Our family will treasure those moments and memories forever!
There aren’t words to describe how proud I am to be Momma Monty, Cannon and Maci’s mom, and Coach’s wife.
Over the past eight years, Philip navigated the Tulsa football program through incredible challenges, the extent of many even I’m not aware, as he likes to minimize my worries and concerns.
Four university presidents, two athletic directors, a campus-wide budget crisis, COVID, quarantining, furloughs, social unrest, amended admission requirements, restructuring of degree options, hiring freezes, decreases in staff positions and enrollment, the transfer portal, and NIL (name, image, and likeness) deals are substantial challenges when facing them one at a time. To guide the program through them all at once, to lead the team to a better place through such rough waters, was extraordinary leadership by Philip.
I am proud that we are leaving TU Football much better than we found it — that's always the goal.
I implore the Golden Hurricane family and fans to commit to the next coaching regime. Rather than fighting the ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics, support the program, supply the tools for success. The coaches, and especially the players, deserve it.
“We do more with less” is no badge of honor. We should all retire that battle cry and find ways to provide what is needed to compete on a level playing field. The group that is, as the school song goes, loyal, always true is amazing! Kind, wonderful people doing more than anyone realizes to keep the boat afloat. But those few shouldn't — can't — be expected to carry the full load. As the smallest school with the smallest alumni base in the FBS, the TU fans and the Tulsa community are integral to making up the difference necessary to keep up with advancements in college sports.
Focus on the kids...cheer for them, engage with them, listen to their stories, and encourage their journeys. Be their champions. People matter most, and both the Tulsa campus and community are filled with incredible people.
When the road was rough, when obstacles threatened, this team never quit. In fact, they did the opposite… Hard times made them stronger. Again, that word: together. When the world told them to divide, they continued to grow together.
If you love them, if you truly care about who they are more than what they can do for you, they’ll never quit on you. Their love in return is the real reward.
Thank you to everyone who has checked on us. We’re going to be just fine. When we said “Faith, Family, and Football,” we meant it. We are a family of faith; we trust in the Lord’s plan for us not only when things are going great, but also when they are difficult. We are a tight-knit family; we face trials together, we show up for one another, and we rely on one another, so no one is ever alone. And we really do love football!
There will be hard moments.
Watching the night janitor cling to Philip when they hugged goodbye because he simply couldn’t let Philip go was hard. I knew they shared dinner almost weekly when Philip stayed to work extra late, but I had no idea how much this young man leaned into Philip’s guidance and mentorship. I realized in that moment of their shared grief that this is a man who will suffer for Philip's removal from his daily life.
Reading cards, notes, and texts from former and current players, their parents, and their wives, seeing how Philip has shaped men into leaders, workers, husbands, and dads— that has been wonderful and beautiful and touching. But also hard because, of course, I want him to have that opportunity to serve young people again. Mentoring through football is both his calling and his gift; it's what he's meant to do.
Seeing Philip address the team and tell them how much he’s loved working with them was hard. As with every coach I’ve ever known, Philip has influenced untold lives in a myriad of intangible ways. He’s made such a positive difference that his level of impact cannot be measured or expressed in words. It can only be felt, and I felt it in that team meeting.
Yes, there will be hard moments.
But there will also be new opportunities and new adventures — I’m eager and excited to discover them! Over twenty-nine years, Philip has coached at eight different schools. Each stop along the way has produced lifelong relationships, identified friends who become family, and revealed blessing on top of blessing on top of blessing. I fully expect our next stop will be just the same.
Wherever we land, we will jump in with both feet. We’ll find a new church, we’ll find a new house (that I’ll have a blast setting up and decorating), we’ll learn new traditions, we’ll chant new cheers, and we’ll be all in. Philip will work lots of hours. I’ll over-commit in the community… It’s who we are. It’s what we do.
And at the end of the day, at the end of the season, and at the end of our time in this crazy, fun, fast, physical, emotional, exasperating, and exciting industry, we’ll look back and smile. Just as we are today. Not bitter, not angry, not dramatic. Just a little sad and a lot happy.
Thanks for sharing in our journey.
With love and hugs,