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312-578-9501 | www.shannonlawgroup.com NOVEMBER 2019
PHIL ENGLISH The Legend of Yakima
Phil English told me that he believed in me.
He gave me a D in chemistry. Call it tough love, but at the time, I was upset about it. You see, my chemistry teacher was Phil English, a first-year cross-country coach at Carroll High School in Yakima, Washington. Phil was an Irish national who graduated from Washington State University. He was a runner for the famed WSU running program. At the time, I thought I would get some preferential treatment because I was on the cross-country team and was running about 60 miles per week. I was running every morning before school and every afternoon, too. I was tired all the time. I learned pretty fast that this cat, Mr. English, was old- school. Nothing was given. Everything was earned. Phil English was the first coach I had who made me think big and inspired me to be a better person. Back then, I was a 16-year-old kid searching for an identity. I was a 5-foot-10-inch, 135-pound basketball player. I practiced two hours a day alone on the playgrounds after school. I was going nowhere fast and riding the pine in a team sport. I was a DNP-Coach’s Decision statistic.
Phil told me that if I worked hard, followed his instructions, believed in myself, and thought big, he would make sure I was successful. Trust me; no one on the planet other than Phil English believed I could be a
great athlete. Long story short, within 14 months, Phil English trained me to be the Washington State small school state champion in cross-country. Because of Phil English, I was offered a running scholarship to the University of Portland. I owe this old-school giant big time. At an early age, Phil taught me that we all use a small fraction of our God-given potential, and he taught this country rube to think bigger than I ever did before. I still use those lessons 40 years later. I know I still feel the pain of his crazy hard workouts we used to do in high school. Sam McManis wrote a book about the legend of Phil English and the breathtaking success he has had developing young men and women into tremendous athletes and disciplined people. It’s called “Running to Glory.” Phil English has been inspiring young people for 40 years in Yakima at Eisenhower High School. I wasn’t alone. About 150 of his athletes also earned athletic scholarships. If you call us, we will send you a free copy of “Running to Glory.” Do me a favor. Be like Phil. Make a difference in the life of someone you know and change their lives for the better.
Enter Phil English. In 1980, I turned out for cross-country my junior year to get in shape for basketball. After I hitched a few rides in the middle of long training runs, Phil English knew I was on the wrong path. Phil made a critical decision that changed my life. He asked me to change my life for the better. From my initial training runs, Phil could tell that this 16-year-old loner with a bad attitude had the potential to run 3 miles very fast. Phil sat me down, looked me in the eye, and told me something I will never forget.
– Joe Shannon
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