January 15, 1948 - October 9, 2009
By Donna Phipps
Morris Trent Phipps was the eldest child born to Morris Lynn Phipps and Billie Rae Phipps. His family and friends all called him by his middle name, Trent. He had two younger sisters.
His family said he was the child that was always outside playing a game that involved a ball. Football was his passion but he was also very gifted in baseball. He played his high school football and baseball for the South Garland Owls, where he made All-State in football and played in the All Star Game for the North All Stars. He had offers to play both football and baseball in college, but made his choice to play for Baylor University beginning in 1965 through 1970.
At Baylor, Trent played on the defensive line as nose guard. The coaches thought he was too small but his tenacity, quickness, and strength always earned him his starting position. He loved strength training and his past time was handball. He graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education/History. He was the first in his family to ever attend or graduate from college.
In 1971, he married Donna Clark Phipps during her sophomore year at Baylor. They moved to Lubbock where Donna could finish her degree to be a speech pathologist and Trent began his coaching career at Lubbock Cooper High School. Trent and Donna have two sons: Brett, who coaches in the Dallas area, and Garrett, who has a dental practice in Guymon, Oklahoma.
Trent and Donna had the typical coaching moves around Texas to find that “greener pasture” where the athletes had the perfect combination of skills and motivation. Trent coached at Lubbock Cooper High School, Lubbock High School, Sweetwater High School, Graham High School, and Uvalde High School. While in Uvalde, Trent completed a Master’s in Administration. He was a principal for one year in Van Horn, Texas, and felt his glory days still called him to coach. In 1986, the family moved to Amarillo, Texas. While in Amarillo, Trent coached at Tascosa High School, Bonham Middle School, Palo Duro High School, and Horace Mann Middle School. He retired from coaching and teaching in 2003.
In hindsight, Trent was beginning to show the effects of CTE as early as 1997. His diminished cognitive skills and depression were such that Donna took Trent to seek answers in late 2002. His diagnoses ranged from sleep apnea to serious depression to Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease and his final diagnosis from post mortem autopsy was primary Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Trent’s family misses him greatly but would want you to know the devastation of this disease and ask you to support, in whatever fashion, the research that may some day prevent others from suffering the effects of CTE.
Given with great love for father, husband, teacher, and coach, Morris Trent Phipps by his wife, Donna, and sons, Brett and Garrett.