Entering his 16th season as head coach of both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs in 2018-19, Paul E. Phillips also serves as Assistant Athletic Director at the University, working closely in the areas of compliance and with the University's LEEP (Liberal Education Effective Practice) initiative.
As head coach, he has restored the proud tradition of the program by developing record-breaking student-athletes, who have earned honors on both the conference and national level.
The 2011 New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's swimming and diving coach of the year, Phillips has seen the record books rewritten during his tenure with 20 of the 27 men's records and 24 of the 27 women's records having been established under his watch.
2013-14 proved to be no different as the programs combined to establish a combined eight new records.
In 2009-10, both Ryan Garr and Eileen Garcia each earned the All-America distinction while earning NEWMAC Male Swimmer and NEWMAC Female Diver of the Year, respectively.
In 2008-09, Garcia earned All-America accolades on the three-meter board, while Garr claimed a NEWMAC Championship in the 200-yard backstroke and a berth at the NCAA Championships.
Individual awards aside, Phillips has guided the Cougars to their highest finish in the NEWMAC Championships ever in each of the last two seasons for the women – moving from tenth in 2006 to fifth in 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, under Phillips’ tutelage, the men own nearly every single individual record and five of the six relay records have come under his watch.
In addition to his role as head coach, he designed and supervised the extensive Kneller Center Pool renovation project which was completed in the fall of 2004.
Prior to Clark, Phillips was an accomplished high school and club team coach in his native state of Rhode Island.
At Lincoln High, where he was coach from 1998-2003, he led the school to its first ever co-ed state title (1999-2000) and directed Lincoln’s girls’ team to three consecutive Rhode Island state championships and the boys’ team to three division championships.
On the club level, he built a roster of 165 swimmers in just two years at the Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland-Lincoln and led the Penguins to four straight Rhode Island/Massachusetts League championships. Phillips also developed several Rhode Island state champions, and was named 2002 Rhode Island/Massachusetts League Coach of the Year.
An outstanding swimmer in his own right, Phillips is the only swimmer to earn All-State honors from North Providence High, where he was a two-year captain and 1991 Rhode Island swimmer of the year nominee. In the summer of 2015, Phillips was inducted into the Rhode Island Swimming Hall of Fame.
On the collegiate level, Phillips was a school-record holder and team captain at Brandeis University, where he earned a B.A. in philosophy in 1995 and in the Spring of 2015 he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by the University.