BELGRADE — Rick Phillips, a former Montana athletic director of the year, has been placed on leave, Phillips said Friday.
Phillips is in his 10th year as the athletic director at Belgrade High School, which is hosting the Class B boys and girls basketball state tournaments this weekend. Phillips would normally have a strong presence at a tournament hosted by Belgrade, but about 10 days ago the Montana High School Association was made aware that Phillips wouldn’t be working this weekend’s tournament.
Belgrade superintendent Godfrey Saunders said he couldn’t comment on personnel issues.
“I was placed on leave last week,” Phillips wrote in a text message to MTN Sports. “That’s about all I can say. Hopefully I get cleared soon.”
Phillips hasn’t been at the Belgrade Special Events Center since the tournaments started on Wednesday. The MHSA brought in Manhattan athletic director Pat Lynch to assume Phillips’ tournament duties.
Details as to why Phillips was placed on leave are unclear, but speculation is running rampant at the Special Events Center.
Phillips was named the Montana athletic director of the year in 2014 and received a Service Citation for “significant contributions to the MHSA” at January’s MHSA meetings in Butte.
“I think the world the of Rick Phillips,” said Mark Ator, the Colstrip principal and 2019 athletic director of the year. “He’s done a lot for Belgrade, kids and Montana athletics.”