Coach valued for dedication
Graham Phillips is a bit embarrassed by all the attention.
The long-time football coach of Tawa College’s Second XI, Phillips was honoured at the suburb’s civic awards for his service to sport.
There is a strong link between the college and Tawa AFC, where he serves on the senior committee.
Phillips began coaching more than 15 years ago after he quit playing due to injury. He represented Wainuiomata in 90 games.
‘‘There was an advertisement that said ‘volunteer for your local club’, so I rang the Tawa [AFC] captain and asked how I could help. I had got a lot from football and just wanted to give something back. I started helping with Tawa’s juniors until 2004 and then volunteered to take the college’s seconds. It keeps me involved with the game.’’
He doesn’t have official coaching certificates but his knowledge and experience count for plenty.
‘‘I played for so many years under different coaches and you pick up a lot from guys like [Tawa AFC first team coach] Maarten Romijn, especially training drills. You just add your own flavour.’’
Tawa College seconds are having an excellent season. Despite a recent loss, he says they have what it takes to win their league and push for play in a higher division next season.
His style is to be
‘‘fairly quiet’’ during matches, preferring to say his bit to his players before, at halftime and after games.
As well as coaching the side, he helps oversee all 11 of the college’s football teams, collating results, organising gear, helping with trials and registrations, organising pre- season games and dealing with personnel issues.
Phillips said working with the First XI coach is vital.
He said he was stunned and honoured to receive the civic award. Coaches and administrators like Romijn and Mike Wood have been nominated in the past but not recognised, he said.
‘‘It was nice to get the award, especially as the captain of my team and other players were there on the night. But there are other people out there more deserving than me.’’
Football volunteer: Graham Phillips.