Postgame: Anthony Phillips
Member of the 1985 University of Oklahoma national championship football team
Anthony Phillips was a consensus All-American offensive guard at The University of Oklahoma in 1986 and 1987. He is one of only three Sooner players in history to be named all-conference all four years. Phillips also excelled in the classroom — he earned Academic All-Big Eight honors four times and was a GTE/CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-American in 1987. He and older brother Jon, both All-State defensive tackles at Jenks High School, played together at OU from 1984-87 and were members of the Sooners’ 1985 national championship team under head coach Barry Switzer.
Today, Phillips resides in Tulsa with his wife, Jenny, and three children, Kendall, 19; Andi, 16; and Parker, 13. He is vice president of business development, institutional wealth management, at Bank of Oklahoma, where he says he enjoys competing for business and bringing new clients to the organization.
How did playing for Jenks prepare you for playing at OU?
Playing at Jenks prepared me well for OU in many ways. Both programs shared the same expectation of performance, that being a high level of performance. We planned to win, prepared to win and executed to win. We had great coaches and players in both programs. The coaches and players meshed well together, and we were allowed to be who we were without compromising the team structure.
What were Barry Switzer’s key traits that made him so successful at OU?
Coach Switzer was a great coach and leader. He had a big heart and cared about his players off the field as well; thus, his players were motivated to play hard and lay it on the line for him. He also hired great assistants and let them coach their respective areas. Of course, he recruited great players and he put them in a position to be successful. Switzer is definitely a people person, and he has a great way of relating to people, remembering names as well.
What was the highlight of your playing days at OU?
I have many great memories. We were fortunate in being very successful during that time period, winning many games and having fun doing it. Winning the national title in ’85 was definitely the biggest highlight of my time there. Big wins over Nebraska in ’85, ’86 and ’87, as well as never losing to Texas, rank right up there with the national championship.
What is your favorite memory of winning the national championship?
The whole experience was amazing. We were sitting in the locker room at the Orange Bowl and seeing that Tennessee was going to beat Miami. We were struck with the realization that the winner of our game was going to win the national championship. It was actually a great setup for us not having to deal with all the pressure leading up to the game.
What was the most difficult aspect of being a student-athlete?
It was definitely the time-management aspect. During the season, you more or less had a full-time job as well as being a full-time student.
Key factors that enabled you to become an All-American at OU?
As with most situations, the timing was a key factor. I saw the opportunity to play early and worked hard to crack the lineup. The offense we ran fit well with my skill set and I enjoyed attacking the defense. I decided I was going to be the best I could be and optimize my capabilities within the context of my position. I was fortunate in that my best turned out to be enough to earn All-American status.
Did playing professional football have an appeal?
Playing beyond college did appeal to me and I guess I always assumed I would keep playing. However ... injuries — especially one going into my senior year at OU — changed all that. I knew that my career would be short-lived at best and decided I would be better served to move on. It was a hard decision to make at the time; however, I think it was the right decision. The more time that goes by, the better I feel about it. When I’m skiing in Colorado with my family or doing the Tulsa Run, I realize the benefits of making that decision.