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Phillips selected as new Hartselle baseball coach

Jun. 4—HARTSELLE — For the first time in almost 40 years, the Hartselle Tigers are set to have a new head baseball coach.

Brad Phillips was named the school's new coach Tuesday during a Hartselle Board of Education meeting. Phillips replaces longtime coach William Booth, who died last month after a long battle with cancer.

Booth took over in 1987 and was state's all-time winningest coach with 1,217 wins. He also won nine state championships in his time at Hartselle.

"I know what baseball means to this community, and I also know what Coach Booth was responsible for building what Hartselle baseball is today," Phillips said. "If I can fill a small fraction of the footprint he has left, then I will consider my soon to be time at Hartselle a success."

Phillips comes from the University of South Alabama, where he was the pitching coach for the Jaguars for the past six seasons. Prior to that, he spent eight seasons as an assistant at Troy and also had stints as a head coach at Charles Henderson and Niceville (FL). At Charles Henderson he led the Trojans to the Class 5A state finals in 2008 and was named Class 5A Coach of the Year.

"We are excited about the future of our program under the leadership of Coach Phillips," Hartselle Athletic Director Jake Miles said. "It became pretty evident as searched for a new coach that he was the best fit for our school."

Miles spent the last four seasons coaching under Booth as an assistant and also stepped in as acting head coach this past season after Booth was unable to attend games. Miles believes Phillips will carry on the legacy Booth left behind.

"Coach Booth took this program to another level in the course of his time here, and his legacy will live on for years to come," Miles said. "He instilled a tradition of hard work, both on the field and in the classroom, and we feel Coach Phillips can continue us in that direction."

"The thing that makes Brad the perfect fit for us is not that simply that he understands baseball, but he understands the tradition of Hartselle baseball and the importance of growing our kids and our culture the right way," Miles added.

Phillips will take over a program that has advanced to the Class 6A state finals in three of the last four seasons.

"Hartselle has a great reputation around the state as a top school in academics and athletics, and me and my family look forward to being a part of that," Phillips said. "We look forward to beginning our time in such a storied and tradition rich program."

caleb.suggs@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2395. Twitter @CalebSuggs2