TALLAHASSEE – Florida State women’s cross country coach Kelly Phillips was named the South Region Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season on Tuesday, as announced by the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA).
Phillips guided the Noles to their second consecutive NCAA South Region title on Friday. FSU’s 58-point margin of victory over runner-up Ole Miss was the largest of any team – men or women – from the nine region meets contested.
On Monday the Noles climbed to No. 9 in the USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll. It is the program’s highest ranking since 2014 and the highest ranking entering the NCAA Championship meet since 2013.
Now in her fifth season at Florida State, Phillips has guided the program back to a place among the nation’s elite teams. The Noles will make their second consecutive and 13th all-time NCAA Championships appearance on Saturday at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind.
A year ago Florida State made its first NCAA appearance since 2014, carrying a No. 18 ranking into the meet at Madison, Wisc. and came away disappointed with a 26th-place showing. Since then Phillips and her athletes have been pointing to the 2019 meet and targeting a top-10 finish.
Florida State had six athletes earn All-South Region honors. Maudie Skyring (fourth), Elizabeth Funderburk (sixth) and Addi Coggins (seventh) finished among the top 10 as the Noles rolled on their home Apalachee Regional Park course. Jodie Judd (12th), Lauren Ryan (15th) and Rebecca Clark (22nd) joined them on the All-Region squad.
Skyring, Funderburk, Judd and senior Megan Mooney, who was 30th at the South Region meet, all competed at the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Under Phillips’ direction the Noles boast their deepest squad in program history, which is no small feat give the turnaround she has guided since taking over the once-proud program in the summer of 2015. FSU sandwiched a pair of fourth-place South Region finishes around a seventh-place showing over her first three seasons, before authoring the consecutive titles.
The success and honors are not new to Phillips. This was her fourth South Region Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honor, having picked up her first two while directing South Florida in 1999 and 2000.