Crimson Tide land five players from Alabama and one from Tennessee, Florida and Mississippi
Following a professional baseball career that spanned 12 seasons, including five in in Major League Baseball, Andy Phillips returned to the University of Alabama in 2011 as an assistant coach. Beginning with the 2013 campaign, Phillips enters his third season and is the hitting and infield coach for the Crimson Tide baseball program.
"Andy was a phenomenal player here, and I couldn't be happier with his decision to return to Alabama," said Alabama head baseball coach Mitch Gaspard. "He is the most well-rounded person I have ever coached and been around, and we are very fortunate to have him join our coaching staff."
Leading the Tide's hitting instruction the past two seasons, Phillips helped Taylor Dugas finish his career as the school's all-time leader in hits, doubles and triples. Dugas notched his 323rd career hit against Mississippi State on May 5, 2012, to break the record Phillips held since 1999. Phillips also mentored Ben Moore, who hit .342 en route to Freshman All-America honors by Baseball America and an SEC All-Freshman Team selection in 2012.
A four-year letter winner (1996-99) and first team All-American honoree for Alabama (1999), Phillips played for the New York Yankees (2004-07), New York Mets (2008), and Cincinnati Reds (2008) during his MLB career. Before returning to the Capstone in 2011, Phillips played two years in the Nippon Professional League (Japan) for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp (2009) and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (2010).
"Coaching always intrigued me, but only in an ideal situation, and that is here at Alabama," said Phillips. "I never wanted to get into coaching just to say I was a coach. There are a lot of things that I have aspired to do, but I've always had a passion for teaching and soaking in information. I always said that if I had the opportunity to coach here, I would do it, but it would only be here."
Following a stellar playing career at Alabama, Phillips was a seventh-round draft pick by the Yankees in 1999. He made his Major League debut on Sept. 14, 2004, and in his first at-bat, he belted a home run over the Green Monster in Fenway Park on the first pitch he saw from Terry Adams. Phillips is one of seven players to homer in his first at-bat as a Yankee and became the 21st player in MLB history to hit a home run on the first pitch of his career.
Phillips received the Yankees' Kevin Long "Minor-League Player of the Year" Award following al 2004 season where he led all Yankees minor leaguers in batting average (.321), RBI (101) and ranked second in home runs (30). He was voted the Most Valuable Player of the International League All-Star Game, after hitting a 10th-inning walk-off home run. Phillips later earned the James P. Dawson Award as the Yankees' most outstanding Yankees rookie during the 2005 spring training.
In 2006, Phillips saw action in 110 games in the Yankees pinstripes, posting a .240 batting average with seven home runs, 11 doubles and 29 RBI, as the Yankees won the America League East Division title with an MLB-best 97-65 record. Phillips made one plate appearance in the American League Divisional Series (ALDS) against the Detroit Tigers. After returning to the minors for the start of the 2007 season, Phillips rejoined the Yankees on June 19, 2007, and in 61 games posted a career-high .292 batting average. The season was cut short when he suffered a broken wrist after being hit by a pitch.
His MLB career continued in 2008 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, seeing action in 52 games with 73 at-bats. After hitting .233, Phillips was designated for assignment by the Reds and was picked up by the New York Mets, playing four games. He was designated for assignment by the Mets on July 1, 2008, and reclaimed by the Reds off waivers on July 3 but never returned to the major leagues.
On Dec. 22, 2008, Phillips was signed to a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was invited to Spring Training as a "non-roster invitee." In April of 2009, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox, and assigned to the Charlotte Knights of the International League. On June 23, 2009, Phillips signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball, and after one season with the Carp, he played his final professional season with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2010.
In his four seasons at Alabama, Phillips posted a .356 career batting average with 61 home runs, 224 RBIs and 322 hits. He ended his career as the all-time leader in home runs, RBIs and hits, and currently holds the school records in home runs and total bases (590). In the history of the baseball program at Alabama, Phillips is one of three players with 50 home runs and 200 RBI, one of four players with 300 hits, and is the only player in school history with 50 home runs, 200 RBI and 300 hits.
The Tide advanced to the NCAA Tournament all four years that Phillips wore the Alabama uniform, which included three College World Series appearances. He is one of two Tide players (Manny Torres) to make three CWS appearances. As a freshman in 1996, Phillips was part of a 50-19 squad that captured the SEC regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to the CWS, marking the third trip in school history and the first for UA since the 1983 season.
Phillips hit .366 in 1997 with 15 home runs and 64 RBI to help the Tide post a 56-14 overall record, an SEC regular season championship, and a runner-up finish in the CWS, falling to LSU (13-6) in the national championship game. As a junior, Phillips hit .351 with 21 home runs and a career-high 81 RBI, as the Tide posted a 46-18 record after falling to Long Beach State (5-3) in the final game of the NCAA West Regional.
As a senior, Phillips nearly hit .400 (.398), with 22 home runs, 22 doubles, 66 RBI and a .781 slugging percentage. He led the Crimson Tide to a SEC Tournament title in 1999, and after Alabama won the NCAA Regional and Super Regional, the Tide finished third in the College World Series.
After his senior campaign, Phillips was a first team All-America selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and Collegge Baseball Insider. He garnered third team All-America honors by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Phillips completed his bachelor's degree in sports fitness management from the University of Alabama in 1999.
George Andrew Phillips, born April 6, 1977, in Tuscaloosa, Ala., was raised in Demopolis, Ala., where he played baseball for the Demopolis Academy Generals. Prior to playing for the Tide from 1996-99, Phillips was a 41st-round selection out of high school by the Milwaukee Brewers as a shortstop in 1995.
In 2004, he married Bethany Phillips and the couple has a daughter named Isaiah.