Bill passed away in 1999, but Phil says this legendary coach's influence on him is everlasting. "He was a great leader and great man, and being able to be associated with him is a big part of the dream," Phil says. "He was about teaching you how to respond competitively to different challenges. Obviously, they were on the track, and they were about getting prepared to compete and competing well and competing better than you thought you could do, and accepting victory and defeat."
Phil suffered another great loss in 2004 when his son Matthew died in a scuba diving accident. This kind of tragedy is something no parent should ever have to face, Phil says. "It aged me much faster than anything you can imagine," he says. "Matt had two sons, and they are now 7 and 10. The 10-year-old's the absolute spitting image of him. They're absolutely great kids and are a huge help."
In January 2011, Phil helped dedicate the new Matthew Knight Arena at the University of Oregon in memory of his son.
Published on April 26, 2011