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Henry Disbrow Phillips (January 16, 1882 – June 29, 1955) was an American Episcopal bishop (1938–1955) and college American football player and coach (1900–1909). Sportswriter Fuzzy Woodruff called him "the greatest football player who ever sank cleated shoes into a chalk line south of the Mason-Dixon line."[1]

Henry Phillips
Phillips while playing for Sewanee
Sewanee Tigers
Career history
CollegeSewanee (1900–1905)
Personal information
Born:(1882-01-16)January 16, 1882
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:June 29, 1955(1955-06-29) (aged 73)
Boone, North Carolina
Height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight185 lb (84 kg)
Career highlights and awards
College Football Hall of Fame (1959)

Henry D. Phillips
Bishop of Southwestern Virginia
ChurchThe Episcopal Church
DioceseSouthwestern Virginia
Term ended1954
PredecessorRobert Carter Jett
SuccessorWilliam H. Marmion
Personal details
Born(1882-01-16)January 16, 1882
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedJune 29, 1955(1955-06-29) (aged 73)
Boone, North Carolina
OccupationPreviously college footballer
Alma materSewanee: The University of the South

College footballEdit


Playing careerEdit

Phillips was twice selected All-Southern as a guard and captain of the 1902 Sewanee Tigers football team.[2][3] On the dedication of Harris Stadium, one writer noted "The University of the South has numbered among its athletes some of the greatest. Anyone who played against giant Henry Phillips in 1901-1903 felt that he was nothing less than the best as guard and fullback."[4] A description of his play by John de Saulles included "His weakness has always, and only, been that of Southern players generally – defense."[5] Phillips was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959 and is a member of the Sewanee Athletics Hall of Fame. He was nominated though not selected for an Associated Press All-Time Southeast 1869-1919 era team.[6]

Coaching careerEdit

He played Sewanee football for six seasons, and then spent two as a line coach. The two as line coach included an SIAA championship in 1909. He assisted his alma mater from 1909–1911; and 1914–1915.


He was also president of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) from 1919 to 1922.


After graduating from Sewanee Phillips was ordained in the Episcopal Church and served as bishop of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia for 17 years, from 1938 to 1954.


  1. ^ Woodruff 1928, p. 104
  2. ^ "National and Southern Honors". Sewanee Football Media Guide: 31. 2011.
  3. ^ "Sadler Is Made Captain of All-Southern Team". Atlanta Constitution. November 29, 1903.
  4. ^ "Stadium Has Harris Name" (PDF). The Sewanee Purple. November 6, 1957.
  5. ^ National Collegiate Athletic Association Foot Ball Rules. 1905. p. 155.
  6. ^ "U-T Greats On All-Time Southeast Team". Kingsport Post. July 31, 1969.
  • Woodruff, Fuzzy (1928). A History of Southern Football 1890–1928.