Most of the news about Monday’s airplane crash in Dillingham, Alaska, was about the loss of former Senator Ted Stevens and the survival of former NASA chief Sean O’Keefe. But for some in the White Flint area, the more hurtful news was tucked in a small paragraph near the end: William “Bill” Phillips, a constant presence around Georgetown Prep football, also lost his life in the crash. Fortunately, his 13-year-old son Willy, survived the crash.
Three of his sons played football for Prep and now play for Division I college teams: Andrew, a senior at Stanford, Colter (named for his ancestor, Lewis and Clark survey member John Colter) is a sophomore at the University of Virginia, and Paul, a freshman at Indiana University. I knew all three boys when I coached freshman football at Prep, and they were smart, courteous and funny. Andrew, for example, is an enormous gentle giant who plays offensive guard for Stanford, but he also starred in school theater productions, playing against type. Bill and his wife Janet hosted numerous meetings and parties for Prep football players over the years, and were very involved in school life. Out of respect for the family, Prep had no comment.