- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Sitting in the girls’ basketball office, Phillip Condor marveled at how fast he had climbed the coaching ladder at Shelby County High School.
Condor worked two years SCHS boys’ coach Mike Clark before moving over to the girls’ staff with Sally Zimmerman last year.
“That’s amazing,” he said. “I hadn’t really even thought about how fast it’s all happened.”
Condor’s rise hit the culmination Monday after school’s Site Based Decision Making Council approved his hiring as the new Lady Rockets head coach.
The position came open last year when Sally Zimmerman took the role as Athletics Director.
Though she said stepping away from the sideline will be tough, Zimmerman said hiring Condor became easier as the process went on.
“I knew this was going to be tough because that’s my position,” she said. “But Phillip made it easy. I know what type of person he is, his knowledge of the game and how loyal he is to the school and the program. This isn’t a stepping-stone job. This is a destination job.
Zimmerman said the school received several applications for the position and held three interviews.
“He’s the perfect fit – he understands the tradition and what’s expected in this position,” she said.
Looking over his shoulder Condor glared up at Zimmerman’s five 8th Region Coach of the Year Awards (2003-06 and 2008), and he knows the pressure will be on.
“When I first got a teaching job here [three years ago], even being from Indiana, people knew the tradition,” he said. “They instantly started talking about Mike Casey and Terry Davis, and even with the recent success of the Slaughters [Toni and A.J.], Charlotte Marshall and Raechelle Gray. This is a top-tier job, and I want that pressure. It was rough last year, but we’re going to be better.”
The process was tough, Condor said, but rewarding.
“I felt like I was well prepared for the position after working with Mike and Sally,” he said. “I was nervous, but I felt like I had a great chance to be in the running. When they offered me the position Thursday, I was absolutely thrilled.”
Then on Monday, Condor met with the team to share the news and try to get the team excited for next year.
“It’s exciting. I think he’s going to bring something new,” junior Dee Dee Davis said. “He’s young, and he can start his program the way he wants it and continue to build.”
Condor also wanted to stress the work that will be needed for next year.
“He said it’s going to be all about defense,” junior Hannah Stucker said. “We’re definitely going to have to step it up.”
Fellow junior Taylor Shaw said the comfort level of an assistant moving up will make the transition easier.
Condor said he wants those upcoming seniors to know that despite this year’s struggles – the Lady Rockets finished 9-17 and loss in the first round of the 30th District Tournament for the first time in decades -- the program’s tradition and expectations will not go down.
“I really think we can win the region next year,” he said. “I’ve already played the Anderson County, Simon Kenton and South Oldham games in my head 100 times, and I like what we have.
"It’s going to start with those up-coming seniors and their leadership, but we have a lot of younger players that are going to contribute. We’re going to have a good mix.”
Condor said his team will focus on defense, and the offense will have to catch up.
“Defense is going to be our key,” he said. “We’re going to press a lot and deny everything. When they pass it away, we’re going to deny the pass back and deny every ball reversal.
“We’ll see June 1 [when summer practices begin] what our offense will do,” he said. “I’d like to run, I like to get the ball up and down the court, but we have to see what we have. I feel like I can teach them either way – to walk it or run.”
Condor also has a few more decisions to make, like what to do with his staff.
He said he expects Greg Lawson to stay on as a varsity assistant, and he plans to move Jacinda Newsome up from freshman coach to his old spot as junior-varsity coach.
“Then we’ll just look around and see what we need,” he said. “We don’t want to rush into anything, so we’ll take our time.”
- Three years as a coach, two with the Rockets and one with the Lady Rockets
- Played basketball, baseball and tennis at South Central High School in Elizabeth, Ind.
- Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Louisville
- Turns 28 in September