BILLINGS — Belgrade activities director Rick Phillips told 406mtsports.com that he is stepping down from his position.
Phillips, 60, was hired to become AD at Belgrade in 2009. He delivered his resignation letter on Wednesday afternoon.
A native of New Mexico, Phillips spent the first 13 years of his career in New Mexico before coming to Montana in 1994. He taught for 13 years in Bozeman and was a middle school activities director for several years in Bozeman, he said.
Phillips said he will move to Washington state to become the AD at Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way. Phillips said his last day on the job in Belgrade will be June 30.
"It's been a great run. I've loved it," Phillips said.
This year Belgrade moved up to Class AA from Class A. Overall, Phillips said the transition went well.
"It went as expected. It was a shame we didn't have the teams we had years before, we were certainly much more senior-laden and competitive," he said. "We were extremely young this year and to be extremely young across the board, we got our lumps and got initiated. The spirit never dropped and the student section supported us across the year and everyone did a fantastic job of keeping spirits up and morale high and kept plugging along. Our time will come."
The cancellation of the spring sports season due to the coronavirus was disappointing for all, but Phillips would have liked to see how the Panthers softball team did in Class AA.
"We were excited for the spring season," he said. "Our softball team is extremely good and coming off three straight state titles. We thought we could compete for a AA title."
Phillips did spend a short time on administrative leave last year, from late February until early April but was cleared and returned to work. The time spent on administrative leave was over accusations by the Belgrade School District that funds to run Montana High School Association tournaments in Belgrade were mishandled by the Gallatin Valley Tournament Committee, of which Phillips was a member. Funds were paid to tournament workers in cash and the district felt the tournament money was school district money and should have been placed in an account to pay tournament workers from, but Phillips contended it was money intended by the GVTC for use in hosting tournaments and therefore cash payments, in which records were kept, to workers could be made.
"As opposed to that little stretch of time, it's been great," said Phillips.
Belgrade superintendent Godfrey Saunders was the assistant principal at Chief Joseph Middle School who offered Phillips his first job in Montana in 1994.
"Here I am 26 years later turning in my resignation letter to the same administrator that hired me 26 years ago in 1994 to come to Montana," said Phillips.
Phillips said he's never "been a day counter" and looks to fulfill all of his duties at Belgrade before he steps down.
"It's been fantastic. I love this community and school," he said. "I have bled green for 11 years. I am fortunate enough the school I am going to has green in its colors, too. I'll be alright."