After six seasons at the helm of the Florida State women’s cross country program, head coach Kelly Phillips retired from coaching on July 2.
“My time at FSU has been incredible,” Phillips said. “I’m so grateful for Coach Braman to take the chance on me 24 years ago as a new coach at USF and then to hire me again six year ago to come to FSU,”
“I will miss a lot of things about FSU, mostly the student-athletes that have taught me so much. They kept me on my toes and made me laugh on a daily basis.”
Phillips arrived in Tallahassee in 2015 and brought the Florida State women’s distance program back into the limelight, winning consecutive NCAA South Regional titles in 2018 and 2019.
Her runners were also pivotal in securing five ACC Championships between Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field.
In a unique season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phillips guided the Seminoles to a 15th place finish at the 2020 NCAA Championships, led by two All-Americans, Maudie Skying and Rebecca Clark in March of 2021, just days after running at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Skyring’s 23rd place finish (20:40.5) in the 6K was the highest at the meet since Colleen Quigley also took 23rd in 2014. The Australian took home her third All-American honor in three days, after anchoring the distance medley relay to a third place finish and she placed eighth in the 3,000M at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Clark added a 40th place finish (20:59.3), marking the first time since 2012 the Noles had a pair of All-Americans at the same meet. Clark also captured All-American second team honors after her 12th place finish in the 5,000M.
Phillips took home the USTFCCA South Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year trophy following the 2021 indoor season.
In 2019, the Seminoles placed 12th at the NCAA Championships, improving 14 spots from 2018, which was the first trip to NCAAs for FSU since 2014. A trio of Noles captured All-ACC honors, which was the most since 2013, while leading the team to a runner-up finish.
FSU’s women have piled up 11 All-South Region honors between 2018 and 2019, with a high of six in 2019.
In 2018, Militsa Mircheva followed up her South Region individual title to become FSU’s first cross country All-American since Quigley in 2014. She also set a pair of school records on the track.
For her efforts, Phillips captured back-to-back South Region Cross Country Coach of the Year honors.
Phillips’ Noles have established four new school records and authored 14 total (10 indoor/4 outdoor) new all-time, top 10 marks on the track.
Phillips arrived at FSU from Miami of Ohio, where she spent six seasons as the women’s cross country and track & field head coach, leading the Redhawks women to a pair of Mid-American cross country titles. She was a two-time MAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year (2009, 2013).
Prior to Miami, Phillips was an assistant at Purdue (2005-09), which followed a three-year coaching hiatus while running the Claremont Trails Running Camp in New Hampshire. Phillips cut her coaching teeth at USF, succeeding Braman as the head men’s and women’s cross country and track & field coach in 2000.
Phillips led the Bulls to three conference cross country titles – twice with the women and once with the men – Phillips was a three-time Conference USA Cross Country Coach of the Year and two-time South Region Coach of the Year. She added CUSA Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year honors in her final season. In all, Phillips guided 33 Bulls to the NCAA Championships.
“We wish Kelly the very best in her retirement,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “She did a fantastic job rebuilding our women’s distance program. She’s set the cross country team up for a top five national finish this Fall. I knew she was a special talent when I first hired her at USF in 1997, and we were lucky to bring her to FSU six years ago,”
“I know family is huge for her, and so this is her chance to put that focus on them.”
The Seminoles will host the FSU XC Open on Sept. 17 at the Apalachee Regional Park.