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In Memoriam: Kathy Slattery Phillips

Kathy Slattery Phillips
Kathy Slattery Phillips

The playing surface is a coach's classroom. For the past 30 years, the sports information office in Alumni Gymnasium was Kathy Slattery Phillips's classroom, Dartmouth's "school of journalism." Her classroom was dark on Nov. 21, 2007, the day that complications from a cerebral aneurysm took Kathy's life at age 55.

From Concord, N.H., and a graduate of the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University, Kathy came to the Upper Valley in 1975 as a reporter for the Manchester Union Leader. In the summer of 1977, I concluded nine years as Dartmouth's sports information director (SID). My assistant, Ed Wisneski '72, also departed that spring for a job with the New York Jets.

Seaver Peters '54, the director of athletics, picked Art Petrosemolo to be the new SID. "Seaver pushed me to pursue the assistant's job," Kathy said. "I didn't like the idea of 60-hour weeks but it worked out. Art was a promoter and creator and I'm a doer. It worked well for Dartmouth."

Indeed. The boss, Petrosemolo, was Kathy's first journalism student, the target of her red editing pen. After a national search when Petrosemolo departed in 1983, Kathy was the obvious choice.

Though it meant even longer hours, she still found time to play championship golf (including 22 women's titles at Hanover Country Club) and, in 2005, to become Corey Phillips's bride and stepmother to his young son and daughter.

Assistants and interns, too numerous to count and many of them Dartmouth students, came to Kathy's classroom over the past three decades. Their job was to help her chronicle the men and women who compete on Dartmouth's 34 varsity teams. And, to learn lessons marked by that red pen, delivered with wry wit and eyes that always seemed to smile, even on deadline, suggesting friendship and understanding.

Chris Wielgus, the women's basketball coach who came to Dartmouth a year before Kathy, says, "She was one of a handful of women who charted the early waters of coeducation at Dartmouth. No one cared like Kathy. No one remembered like Kathy. No one could bake cookies like Kathy. The job was personal to her. Dartmouth was her life's work. She touched us all: coach, student, staff."

Grantland Rice, the great sportswriter, called Charley Loftus, Yale's SID from 1943 to 1968, "the most talented in the business." Clearly, Rice never met Kathy Slattery Phillips.

By JACK DeGANGE

Jack DeGange was Dartmouth's sports information director from 1968 to 1977

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Last Updated: 5/30/08