Huskies Homecoming spotlight – Pat Phelan
When Battle Mountain football takes the field Friday against Cortez, they’ll be running onto Phelan Field. That’s because Pat Phelan is the dean of all Huskies coaches. He’s coached 70-plus seasons at Battle Mountain among football, wrestling and track. As a football coach, he’s won a staggering 100 games. More importantly in the classroom, he’s taught nearly every student at Battle Mountain since the early 70s until recently. Though he’s now splitting time between Battle Mountain and Vail Christian, there’s no better way to start Huskies Homecoming week than by putting Pat Phelan in the spotlight. Date in of birth: Feb. 16, 1950Born in: DenverWife: BeckiChildren: Tracey and SheaWhat do you like about Homecoming?: “I don’t coach football at Homecoming anymore. I dreaded Homecoming when I was a football coach. I fought so hard to keep the kids focused. So much is going on. It’s not that I wanted to rob them of their childhood. It’s just that I wanted to rob them of that segment of their childhood.
“No, I think it’s great. It’s great to see the alumni come back. It’s great for school spirit. Now, we’ve got some sports teams that are doing some good things. It’s always fun to celebrate their successes. I just like it. You get to show some pride in your school.”Speaking of school, per chance, where did you go to high school?: “I’m a Mullen Mustang. I’m glad to see they’re still winning football games because we were darn good. If they stink after you leave, then it’s not as much fun. I had a great time at Mullen. The football team went undefeated four years in a row.”What attracts you to teaching?: “I’m just a wonderful guy. What can I say? It sounds hokey, but on a serious note, I think this is what I’m supposed to do with my life. Realistically, I think teaching is a calling as much any vocation. If you can do it, and for some reason or another, I can do it. It’s nothing that I did. It’s no training I received. Somehow, I just connect with kids 14-18.”How much satisfaction you get out of it when kids go on to succeed in life?: ‘You know something, not one of those kids who really have been successful and there have been some kids who honestly are millionaires right now, they haven’t sent me one darned dollar. They forget the old coach. No, I take a lot of pride in that. Certainly, the kids who were successful while we were, but some of our kids who were not successful when they were here, but they’ve gone on and done incredible things in their life. It’s amazing”What are some of your favorite coaching moments?: “The seasons with J.C. Moritz and Jimmy Pike and Jeff (Campbell) and all those great kids and Jeff Rohlwing and his teammates and the Henry brothers and things like that. Certainly, those are big moments. But I’ve got to tell you in the early 70s, there were some incredible relationships that we built with kids. Those were incredible times. Some of them were good. We also got knocked down a few times.”What’s it like to watch your kids play?: “First of all, you have to understand that you have moments of incredible success. You have heartbreaking moments. The hardest thing as a parent is to back away and say, ‘The kid has got to learn to grow up.’ That’s the biggest thing about sports. Kids learn to grow up. They’ll have great moments and they’ll have devastating moments, and thank God for both of them. You talk about pain, it hurts your heart. But you go, ‘They have to go through this. They have to learn from this.'”Favorite subject when you were in school: EnglishFavorite sports teams: “At Battle Mountain, I’m really partial to football, but I’ve got to tell you something. I love every single team that has black and gold. Recently, my recently my favorite teams have also become teams that wear blue and silver (Vail Christian). Those kids really grow on you. I also like Mullen football, the Denver Broncos because I’m from Colorado, the CU Buffs because I know Gary Barnett … I like CSU. I like the UNC Bears.”
Favorite athletes: My all-time favorite athletes to watch – it’s a toss-up between Tracey Ann Phelan and Ryan Patrick Phelan (Shea). Then at college, just about any Battle Mountain kid that I was standing on the sidelines watching.”Favorite TV Show: The West WingFavorite ESPN personality: Woody PaigeFavorite movies: Finding Forester and RudyFavorite book: Atlas ShruggedMac or PC: “I’m a PC guy. I have little use for Macs because I don’t have any artistic ability.”Favorite Web site: “Rockypreps.com. No, vaildaily.com. That’s really my favorite Web site.”Favorite food: Becki’s green chili burritos
Favorite pizza slice: Everything, but anchoviesFavorite color: GreenIf you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?: Blue spruceIf you were ruler of the world for one day, what would you do?: “World Peace.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or via email@example.com.Vail, Colorado