One of the most successful coaches in the state of Alabama is suddenly out of a job after he was dismissed for what initially seems to be a remarkably trivial reason: He attends the wrong church.
As reported by the Montgomery Advertiser, Prattville (Ala.) East Memorial Christian Academy super coach Scott Phillips, who led the school’s football program to its first state playoff birth in years and coached the boys basketball team to the first state title in any sport, was dismissed because he refused to force his family to attend East Memorial Baptist Church.
While Phillips had never been forced to attend the school’s affiliated church when he was only a coach, that changed when he became the school’s athletic director. As confirmed by the Advertiser, East Memorial Christian Academy’s athletic director was expected to attend the East Memorial Baptist Church, even though there was allegedly not an official clause in the contract requiring such attendance.
Phillips tried to make that work, getting his family to start each Sunday at a 9 a.m. service at East Memorial before attending an 11 a.m. service at his family’s church of choice, Church of the Highlands. Eventually that routine began to make Phillips feel dishonest, leading to a conversation with East Memorial officials where the coach and AD told them he didn’t feel comfortable attending Sunday services at East Memorial Baptist.
That was the last conversation he would have as the school’s AD.
“I was 30 seconds from turning the job down because of the church issue,” Phillips told the Advertiser. “They wanted me to transition from the Church of the Highlands to East Memorial. I never really liked that, so I went back in my administrator’s office and told them I was willing to give this a try, but I don’t know how this will work out?
“That was the last thing said.”