I wasn't able to attend the retirement celebration for Phil Russell on May 7, and had intended to write him this note privately. After having read the article about him May 8, "A Living Legend: Ogden High School honors retiring coach and teacher," I decided to share with the entire community my expression.
While most of the newspaper article quotes were from student athletes and showed his greatness as a coach, I want everyone to know that I long maintained that Phil Russell's real greatness lies in the fact that besides being a great coach, he also made the non-athletic students feel equally loved and important.
Although I did not play one minute of sports at Ogden High School (I actually slipped through without even taking a P. E. class), he treated me and interacted with me in such a way that made me believe I was his favorite student. I know many others who felt the same way. One doesn't always find that in a teacher who is also an athletic coach.
Phil, you were not only a great coach, but you were a great teacher, making history class memorable, useful and enjoyable to me.
Way to go, teacher!
David L. Knowles
Ogden High School
Class of 1977