Lynn Phillips – Fans walking out of the West Fannin High School gym on the night of January 7, 1969 were shaking their heads in disbelief and awe of the performance they had just witnessed. On that night, Lynn Phillips, 6’ 7” center of the Yellow Jackets put on a terrific performance by scoring 37 points and grabbing 27 rebounds in a 77-50 pasting of Region 7AA foe North Whitfield. The 37 points scored was an all-time high for a single game in West Fannin history. Those present were probably convinced that the record would stand for years.
The record, however, lasted for a mere 4 days. On the following Saturday night, the Jackets found themselves doing battle with another 7AA opponent, the Chattooga County Indians, in a game played at the Chattooga gym in Summerville, Georgia. Against Chattooga, Phillips one upped himself as he assaulted the nets with 18 field goals in 27 attempts, plus five of seven from the charity stripe for a grand total of 41 points in another Jacket victory, this one by a score of 84-59. THAT record was never broken at West Fannin High School, which closed its doors in 1976.
These two performances are typical of a body of basketball work accomplished by Lynn Phillips that has earned him a place in the 2014 class of the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame.
Phillips began playing basketball in elementary school at McCaysville, where he was coached by Clyde Henry. He was a starter for the 1964-65 team that captured the Fannin County championship.
After entering West Fannin High School in the autumn of 1965, Lynn toiled with the Yellow Jacket ‘B’ team for two seasons. He experienced a significant growth spurt during his first two years of high school, with his height skyrocketing by six inches or so in those two years. Although his coordination was a bit out of sync while he grew so quickly, it was during his sophomore season that Lynn began to show signs that he could develop into an outstanding basketball player.
T.J. Thompson, one of Lynn’s coaches at West Fannin, says that Phillips improved more than any basketball player that he had ever seen between his sophomore and junior seasons. Phillips won a starting berth for the Jacket team of 1967-68 and played a pivotal role in the success of that squad. The 1967-68 team was a very experienced squad with a lineup that included four seniors along with Lynn Phillips. The first two players off the bench were also seniors for that team that finished with a 19-4 record, a runner-up finish in the Region 7AA tournament and an appearance in the Class AA state tournament.
At the postseason basketball banquet in 1968, Lynn Phillips received the award as the Most Improved player on the 1967-68 team. He was also named captain of the team for his senior season of 1968-69.
Phillips had one of the best seasons of any player in West Fannin basketball history during his senior year of 1968-69. In a rebuilding year for the Jackets, Phillips averaged 22.7 points and 17 rebounds per game as the team finished with a respectable record of 14 wins and 9 losses. Phillips earned second team all-state honors and was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Lynn’s high school head coach Tom Foster has nothing but praise for Phillips as a player and as a person. Foster says that Phillips was “a pleasure to coach” and, if one designed “a blueprint of an athlete, you could start with Lynn Phillips”. His classmates elected him as the ‘Most Athletic’ member of the senior class in 1969.
Lynn’s hoop skills were rewarded by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga who granted him a full basketball scholarship to play for the Moccasins. He was an excellent student and a member of the National Honor Society at West Fannin, so the UTC grant afforded him the opportunity to pursue a pre-med curriculum at Chattanooga. He had an immediate impact on the program there and was named the outstanding freshman player at UTC for the 1969-70 season. Lynn went on to earn two varsity letters in basketball and graduated on schedule in 1973.
Following his graduation from UTC, Lynn worked as a chemist for two years before entering the University of Tennessee Medical School in Memphis in 1975. While earning his MD, he remained involved in athletics in medical school, serving as the athletic director of his fraternity and leading them to the intramural championship in sports during his senior year.
After completing medical school, Lynn entered the United States Army and remained on active duty for eleven years. While in the Army, he completed his Orthopedic Surgery Residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. He was honorably discharged in June, 1989 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was awarded the Army Meritorious Service Medical for his strong work ethic.
Dr. Lynn Phillips, late of the US Army, set up a private practice in Elkton, Maryland, located on the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay. He remained involved in athletics in Elkton where he established the Chesapeake Sports Medicine Association, a volunteer group of medical types who were dedicated to the evaluation and care of young athletes in the area. Without compensation, the group provided physical evaluations of athletes at the beginning of each sports season and persuaded the Cecil County School Board to hire full time athletic trainers in all four high schools in the county.
Lynn remains active as an orthopedic trauma surgeon, dividing his time between duties in Atlanta and Memphis. He and his wife Marsha, and the three family cats, maintain homes in Buckhead near Atlanta and on Mud Island in Memphis. They are avid fans of the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. Lynn and Marsha enjoy travel and have visited all seven continents, including Antarctica. They are physically active, Marsha plays tennis and Lynn chases a golf ball around the course when he is not busy mending broken bodies, and they both enjoy ballroom dancing.
E/ Lynn Phillips M.D. is enjoying the good life —- which he has earned through hard work and dedication. He is quick, however, to give much of the credit for his lifetime success to the early guidance that he received from coaches Clyde Henry, T.J. Thompson and Tom Foster. From them he learned discipline, the importance of team over self and the responsibility of sharing the rewards of success with his fellow man.