When Jim Phillips unexpectedly passed away last September, the Clemson nation lost its voice.
For 35 years it was Phillips who broadcast the highlights, the lowlights and the sidelights of Clemson University sports. In between there were tours of duty in television sports, minor league baseball and even radio talk shows. But it was as the Voice of the Tigers that Phillips was most recognized, and it's in that way he will be remembered for the ages.
Fortunately for us, we're roughly eight months away from getting a first person, inside look at the life of Jim Phillips courtesy of Jim himself.
For quite some time Phillips had been working on his autobiography with the aid of sportswriter Ken Tysiac, formerly of The State newspaper in Columbia and now with the Charlotte Observer. The completed book will be made available to the public in Feb., bringing Jim's voice to print.
The working title is, "Still Roaring: Tales of Jim Phillps' 50 Years in Broadcasting."
Phillips' son, Jeff, announced the completion of the project and signing of a publishing contract Tuesday on my radio show. It fell to the younger Phillips to coordinate the books finish - including writing a chapter about his father's untimely death - as well as helping with the final edit and getting the publishing contract signed.
But the ordeal will be worth it, for as Jeff Phillips found out in September his father's death didn't put an end to the legend of Jim Phillips.
It only enhanced it.
"I don't know very many people who can say their father's death was an uplifting experience," Jeff Phillips told me. "But to hear on your show first, and on WCCP the rest of that first day, how his life affected others was unbelievable. And not just the (other people) he worked with at all those years at Clemson, but the stories told by someone who may have only met dad once 20 years ago and felt compelled to share the story.
"It's those kind of people I don't think dad ever realized he affected."
But Jim Phillips affected all of us, even those of us who only came to know him in what proved to be the final 5 years of his life. That he would not only take a professional interest in a newcomer like me, but befriend me and add me to his inner circle as well...
That pretty much sums up who Jim Phillips was. The book will make sure his legacy not only lives on, but gets passed on from one generation of Clemson fans to another.
As for Jeff Phillips, his father's death inspired more than just the completion of his father's book. After much soul-searching, it also led him to the ministry.
And it is in that vein Clemson fans and Jim Phillips fans can reminisce with Jeff Phillips this Sunday at East Pickens Baptist Church. Jeff Phillips will speak at both morning services, beginning at 9:15 a.m.
For further information on his appearance, contact East Pickens Baptist Church at 878-4510.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.