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Obituary: Jerry “Coach” Phillips (1934-2019)

Jerry Phillips, beloved father, loving husband, brother, teacher, mentor and “Coach” passed away on Sunday, June 23rd at the age of 85. Jerry was a longtime resident of Walnut Creek.

Jerry was a legendary basketball coach at Sacred Heart High School and a member of both the Sacred Heart Cathedral and San Francisco Prep Halls of Fame. A beloved faculty member at the San Francisco school from 1956 to 2013 and head coach from 1962-85, Jerry later went on to coach at Las Lomas High School from 1990-95 while continuing to teach at Sacred Heart, accumulating numerous titles between the two programs.

Phillips was a graduate of Fremont High (1952) and Saint Mary’s College of California (1956) and he led the Sacred Heart Cathedral boys basketball program to numerous West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) titles and Tournament of Champions appearances, compiling a 512-294 record. Amongst his most notable achievements was winning the last AAA crown for the Fightin’ Irish in 1969 before entering the WCAL and capturing the school’s first CCS title in 1972.  He came out of coaching retirement in 1990 to coach for six seasons at Las Lomas and lead the Las Lomas Knights to a 24-4 record, reaching the North Coast Section playoffs every year. Phillips taught the game in a way that inspired countless former players to become coaches and better men.

Jerry is survived by his ‘angel’, his wife of 52 years, Janice. They were often referred to as Jan & Jer. He was the very proud father of five children and their spouses: Kevin and Sandy Phillips, Steve and Melissa Phillips, Toni Raney (preceded in death), Greg and Jen Phillips, and Heather and Chad Cola. He adored eight grandchildren: Michelle (Kyle) Watt, Carly Phillips, Alaina (Ryan) Vidmar, Aaron (Kathy) Phillips, Alyssa Phillips, Ryan Raney, Domenic Cola, and Luke Phillips and four beautiful great grandchildren. Jerry loved his family fiercely. 

Two gatherings are being planned to honor this amazing man. A Memorial service on Saturday, August 17th at 11:00am at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco and an Open House Celebration of Life in the East Bay on Sunday, August 18th from 1-4pm at 20 Fallen Oak Lane in Martinez. Charitable donations can be made to the Coach Jerry Phillips Endowment Fund at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. Please feel free to provide your contact information to the family, who will share further details on services: coachjerrymemorial@gmail.com. 

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