Profile: Diana Phillips

By By Paul Cundick and By Paul Cundick

By Paul Cundick

Utah softball star Diana Phillips was named to the 2008 All-West Region team this week by the National Softball Coaches Association, adding an exclamation point to her senior season and her outstanding career at the U.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Phillips. Phillips was also named to the All-West Region Team following the 2007 season. “The fact that other coaches and teams thought that I did that well makes me feel really good.” Phillips led the Utes in 2008 in a .382 batting average, 66 hits, three triples and 21 stolen bases. She also tied for the team lead with 12 doubles. Phillips didn’t just get it done from the plate, she was also a standout in center field, leading the team in fielding percentage at .965. First-year head coach Amy Hogue says her arm is “unmatched” in the conference.

“No one runs on her,” Hogue said. “She’s thrown out more people at the plate than any other player I’ve ever coached. In the outfield, she runs down balls that you don’t think she can get to.”

A First-Team all-MWC selection all four years at Utah, Phillips leaves as one of the greatest players that the U has ever had. Her career batting average of .360 is second place on the all-time list. Phillips also finishes her career in the top five in hits, runs scored, and triples.

She had an outstanding prep career at Taylorsville High where she helped the Warriors win region titles each season before being named Region MVP her senior year. Needless to say, a lot was expected when she reached the U and she delivered in a big way. She made an immediate impact, starting 47 games as a freshman and leading the team with 14 multi-hit games.

“She’s a kid that steps up when the pressure is heightened,” says Hogue. “If it’s 0-0 in the seventh, and she’s leading off, she’ll find a way to get on…it’s just what Diana does.”

Even more impressive than her statistics has been her attitude and impact on the team over these last four seasons. Since Phillips arrived for the 2005 season, Utah has sent four different head coaches into the dugout. With the coaching situation changing so rapidly, younger players look to their older and more experienced teammates for leadership. Phillips again delivered as a silent leader whose example spoke for itself.

“She’s so humble,” says Hogue. “I don’t think she understands how good she is and the impact she’s had on the players around her. I’ve never once had to worry about what kind of leader she’s been…it’s all been positive. She has a certain amount of confidence and poise that I’m hoping the younger kids have watched and learned.”

Phillips is quick to deflect praise, giving credit to those who have surrounded her along the way.

“This coaching staff brought a lot of new things that were beneficial to myself and to my teammates,” Phillips said. “I’m just proud of my team’s success. We’ve come through a lot of adversity together.”

With her collegiate career now over, Phillips is ready to move on. After all the awards and accolades, Phillips says her greatest honor was “just playing the game.” She looks to finish her accounting degree later this year, then take some time to settle into a career-but softball will never be completely out of the picture.

“I might help coach here and there…maybe jump back into softball in a few years.”

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