Former Dickson County principal named head coach at Youngstown State

Image credit: Albert Cesare/The Cincinnati Enquirer

A familiar name in Dickson County is now a college football head coach.

According to ESPN, Doug Phillips, who served as the principal at Dickson County High School from 2013-2015, has been named the new head coach at Youngstown State after serving as an assistant at Cincinnati.

Phillips will be replacing Bo Pelini, who accepted the defensive coordinator job at LSU. 

A native of New Middletown, Ohio, just 14 miles from YSU’s campus, Phillips also served on staff at Dickson Middle before moving to the high school. 

When moving back into the college ranks, Phillips served in a player personnel role at Iowa State before his stint with the Bearcats. 

While at Dickson County, Phillips worked with current Cougars athletic director Jay Powlas, who raved about his former colleague and the step he’s taking in college football.

“Principals don’t necessarily deal with all the kids. Him knowing every kid as they came out just took me back.” 

Jay Powlas, Dickson County athletic director

“He had unattainable energy,” Powlas said Friday. “That man could go all day and all night long. He was amazing. Slept on his floor, had an air mattress cause he’d worked so late.”

“Always interested in athletics, athletic programs,” Powlas added of Phillips. “Wanted to make sure our coaches were doing the best they could do. Loved the game of football and wanted to talk football most of the time. You could tell his history was in football.”

Now, Phillips will apply that history to a major role in college football, and he’ll use his Ohio connection to do it.

“He and Coach Tressel have a history together, and Doug’s an Ohio guy,” Powlas said. “You realize those Ohio guys have strong ties… the struggles, the pride in the community. 

“I’m excited for him. I know he’s excited. He’s got a tall task.”

While Phillips’ connections with his colleagues and boss are vital, Powlas also insisted that Phillips’ time in Dickson County helped shape the former administrator’s success at the college level.

“When he was assistant principal at the middle school, he would go into his office and get a yearbook and try to memorize the kids’ names,” Powlas said. “He could call every child’s name, and it was just amazing. 

Principals don’t necessarily deal with all the kids. Him knowing every kid as they came out just took me back.” 

“That translates to be successful because he does have an interest in the young people. He does care.”

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