Longtime Hawks basketball assistant named head coach at MTHS

Johnny Phillips (right) has been named the new boys basketball head coach at Mountlake Terrace High School. Phillips had served as an assistant coach for former head coach Nalin Sood (left) for the past 24 seasons. (File photo by Doug Petrowski)

Longtime assistant coach Johnny Phillips has been elevated to the head coaching position of Mountlake Terrace Hawks boys basketball.

Phillips takes over the reins of Hawks’ hoops from WIBCA Hall of Fame coach Nalin Sood who resigned in March after 37 years of coaching in the program, the last 24 years as the head coach.

Phillips, a 1990 graduate of Mountlake Terrace, has been in the Hawks coaching ranks for 26 years, the past 24 as an assistant coach to Sood with the Terrace varsity squad. 

“Coach Phillips has a clear passion for the MTHS community and firsthand knowledge of the strong tradition of ‘hard work, trust and family’ established in the boys basketball program,” said Mountlake Terrace Athletic Director Sharalee Mathews-Malloy in an email announcement. “Coach Phillips becomes just the fourth coach in Mountlake Terrace basketball history and we are excited for him to leave his mark on the program.”

Sood was pleased with the choice of Phillips to assume the head coaching post at Terrace.

“Coach Philly has been an instrumental part of our player development on and off the court and key to our team’s overall success for the past 27 years,” Sood said.

While Phillips and Sood have been a mainstay coaching the Hawks varsity team since 2001, both started as assistants during the head-coaching tenure of Roger Ottmar, who piloted the program from 1977-2001.

Sood said he believes the foundational coaching principles that Phillips learned under Ottmar will be beneficial as the program moves forward.

“I have no doubt as leader of the MTHS basketball program (Phillips) will continue the successful tradition of the past 65 years,” Sood said.

Phillips inherits a boys basketball program at Terrace with a long history of producing championship-caliber teams, including eight Northwest District 1 championships, six trophy-winning state tournament appearances and one state championship. The 2023-2024 Hawks squad finished with an overall record of 24-4 and placed fourth in the Class 3A state tournament.

As a junior, Phillips was a member of the Terrace team that finished fifth in state at the end of the 1988-1989 season.

Mountlake Terrace HS boys basketball coaches

1960-1977 – Merle Blevins
1977-2001 – Roger Ottmar
2001-2024 – Nalin Sood
2024 – Johnny Phillips

— By Doug Petrowski

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