BEREA, OHIO -- Baldwin -Wallace College senior defensive tackle Kevin Phippswould like to end his football career on a high note this fall, because next spring, the Pataskala, Ohio native has an opportunity to end his career as the most celebrated student-athlete in the history of the College. Phipps enters the fall already a four-time Division III All-American in track and field.
Phipps, a sport medicine and exercise science major, broke into the rotation on the defensive line as a sophomore and started eight contests and had his best season as a collegian last fall. The 2009 NCAA Division III All-American in the discus then had a banner year in track as he earned All-America accolades last winter in the 35-pound weight throw indoors and last spring in both the hammer and discus outdoors.
"Each season, I have had the opportunity to contribute more and more," said Phipps, who was chosen as one of four team captains this fall along with senior defensive end Keith Darbut, senior safety Ryan Dugan and senior linebacker Ryan Kish. "This fall, I am looking to make an even larger impact.
"My teammates look to me to lead, and that's just what I'm going to do," continued Phipps. "That means leading every day in the classroom, on campus and off the field in meetings and in other ways and on the field during practice in drills and other team functions. My goal is to have our younger players follow that lead."
Yellow Jacket ninth-year Head Coach John Snell also has watched Phipps grow and mature during the past four years and feels that he has a great deal to contribue to the success of team in 2010.
"Kevin has not only blossomed as a student-athlete in football and track, he has been a real leader in both sports," said Snell. "We look for Kevin to have an excellent senior season in the classroom and on the field, and more importantly, as a leader of our men."
"Kevin returns as a key member of our defensive line," continued Snell. "He is an extremely hard worker who gets the very most of his ability both on and off the field."
As a freshman, Phipps honed his skills on the junior varsity squad, dressed for varsity and appeared in one contest and had one tackle that season. As a sophomore, he began splitting time between the varsity and JV teams before moving into the rotation on the line, appearing in six contests and making four tackles. Then last season, Phipps started eight contests, made 26 tackles, including a quarterback sack, two tackles for lost yardage and recovered a fumble.
"Last season definitely was my best so far," said Phipps. "I was part of a rotation at tackle. My goal this year is to be on the field for as many downs as possible. To do it, I have to stay healthy and be production on every play."
Another person who has seen Phipps grow and mature during the past four years is Yellow Jacket Head Track & Field Coach Dr. Bill Taraschke.
"Kevin gained a great deal of confidence when he placed and earned All-American honors at the national track meet as a sophomore," said Taraschke, who also was a member of the Yellow Jacket football staff in the 1980s and early 1990s. "He has always been an extremely hard-worker and has been committed to being successful in any endeavor that he tries. The added success last winter and spring should just elevate his confidence and ability to help our football program this fall."
"I love competition whether it be in the ring (shot put, discus, weight throw and hammer) or on the turf," said Phipps, who placed seventh in the indoor weight throw to be the first Yellow Jacket to ever earn All-America acclaim in that event. "It feels great to earn the honors, and I want to do the same thing in football to help my team."
"It meant a lot to me to have all of my family, friends, coaches and teammates there and supporting me at the national meet," continued Phipps, who was sixth in both the discus and hammer when B-W hosted the Division III Outdoor National Championship Meet in Berea. "It was exciting to be able to compete before the home crowd. I am looking forward to having that same success on the Finnie Stadium turf this fall."
So, what are Phipps expectations of himself and his team during the 2010 season?
"We all expect a great season of football," said Phipps, who aspires to be a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer following graduation next spring. "We have a great group of coaches and team leaders who will do anything to help the team succeed."