April Phillips, a dynamic and highly-respected coach with west coast and national ties, will join the Cal women’s basketball program as an assistant coach, Golden Bears’ head coach Lindsay Gottlieb announced on Thursday.
Phillips comes to Cal after spending the last season at Arizona and previous coaching stints at Loyola Marymount and the University of New Haven.
“This is a really exciting day for Cal women’s basketball,” Gottlieb said. “April is one of the most exciting and talented coaches in our profession right now, and I think her decision to come to Cal will help shape the future of our program. It’s big for us and it’s big for the university. I’m incredibly excited to have April in blue and gold and to welcome her into our Cal family.”
During her time in Tucson, Phillips helped Arizona to an impressive 2018-19 campaign in which the Wildcats captured the 2019 WNIT Championship and increased their win total by 18 from the previous season. Phillips worked extensively with Arizona’s post players, helping guide the development of Pac-12 All-Freshman selection Cate Reese.
A California native, Phillips looks forward to bringing her energy and experience to the Cal culture.
“I am beyond humbled by what this new opportunity means to me on a scale bigger than just basketball,” Phillips said. “I am thankful to Jim Knowlton, Jenny Simon-O’Neill, and especially Coach Gottlieb for the opportunity to join such a prestigious community. Cal presents so many unique opportunities for student-athletes, and I can’t wait to join Coach G, [Kai Felton, Wendale Farrow], and the rest of the Cal community in building excellence on and off the floor.”
No stranger to excellence of her own, Phillips spent three seasons at LMU prior to her arrival Tucson, including the last two as the program’s associate head coach. As the Lions’ recruiting coordinator, Phillips helped land two of the top recruiting classes in program history and was named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Thirty Under 30 in both 2017 and 2018.
“April is considered one of the best recruiters on the west coast, if not the country,” Gottlieb added. “But more importantly to me, she is extremely bright and she sees the bigger picture of collegiate athletics. She’s focused on mentoring and guiding student-athletes the right way, and truly values development and growth. I see her as someone who is going to be the face and future of women’s college basketball for years to come. It’s really exciting to have her as part of our program and to see what we can do together.”
Prior to her time at LMU, Phillips spent the 2014-15 season as a graduate manager at Georgia Tech and the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach at the University of New Haven. Leading up to her time in Connecticut, Phillips served as the Coordinator of Basketball Operations at Seton Hall, assisting Hall of Fame coach Anne Donovan with practice planning, recruiting, student-athlete welfare, and day-to-day operations.
Before her return to the college ranks, Phillips served as co-president, head trainer, and coach from 2010 to 2013 at S&A Next Level Basketball, an organization that runs NCAA-certified women’s leagues in addition to various clinics and camps. She also served as the general manager of basketball operations of Sportsplus in Cincinnati, Ohio from 2010 to 2011, where her responsibilities included marketing of basketball leagues, camps and training
A native of Long Beach, California, Phillips began her collegiate basketball career at Georgia Tech, playing for the Yellow Jackets during the 2005-06 season. Following her freshman year, Phillips transferred to Xavier where she played basketball and competed in track and field. She was named to the All-Atlantic 10 third team her senior season and helped Xavier to three NCAA Tournament appearances and two Atlantic 10 titles. As a senior in 2010, Phillips held lead the Musketeers to the Elite Eight, falling just two points shy of the first Final Four appearance in program history. Phillips also excelled in track and field, setting the school’s outdoor shot put record.
After graduating from Xavier in 2010 with a degree in Business Information Systems and minors in Communication and Gender & Diversity Studies, Phillips was invited to preseason camp with the New York Liberty of the WNBA and played professionally in Israel, Finland and Belgium.