Sept. 20, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — It has been nearly 20 years since Eddie Phillips last stepped on the University of Iowa campus. He calls the flashy facilities that didn’t exist when he played from 1980-83 “the fruits of our labor.”
Phillips is the UI’s honorary captain when the Hawkeyes host Western Michigan on Sept. 21 at 11:01 a.m. (CT).
During his career, Phillips rushed for 2,177 yards — an Iowa record in 1983 — and scored 19 touchdowns. The Hawkeyes were 4-7 during his freshman season, then went to the Rose Bowl the next.
“We were winners and we wanted to win,” Phillips said. “The most important thing to do was for us to stay focused.”
Iowa followed the Rose Bowl season with trips to the Peach and Gator bowls with Phillips in the lineup. UI head coach Kirk Ferentz recalls a 21-16 win at Minnesota in 1982 with Phillips wearing down the Gopher defenders. A year earlier, Phillips carried the ball 36 times for 198 yards during a 12-10 loss to Minnesota.
“It didn’t matter how many carries I had; I wanted to help us win,” said Phillips, who led Iowa in rushing in 1982 with 806 yards.
Phillips told the Hawkeyes to focus on academics and strive to achieve their football goals.
“It’s about being a team player,” he said. “Make sure you help the team out in any form, shape, or fashion.”
Phillips is dean of students at an elementary school in Chicago. He calls it refreshing to work with or re-direct youth before they reach an impressionable age.
Iowa returns to action Saturday, hosting Western Michigan at 11:01 a.m. (CT) inside Kinnick Stadium. The game will be televised on BTN with Wayne Larrivee and Jon Jansen calling the action.