Phillips wants to leave his mark at Oklahoma State

Friday, October 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State athletic director Terry Don Phillips wants to leave his thumbprint on the university's athletic program, one reason he withdrew his name from consideration for athletic director at Louisiana State.

``If you look at LSU and places like Arkansas, there's always going to be someone else's thumbprint on those programs,'' Phillips said. ``Here, if we're able to accomplish what we hope to, I think I can have a thumbprint. If I go down to LSU or Fayetteville, I'm not going to have a thumbprint. I'm going to be in someone else's thumbprint.''

Phillips, who came to Oklahoma State in 1995 after stepping down as senior associate athletic director at Arkansas to return to law school, has been behind a number of changes at Oklahoma State.

A $55 million athletic center is scheduled to be completed in December and Phillips is preparing to launch a $76 million fundraising campaign to reconstruct Lewis Field.

Phillips believes that with facility improvements the university can have an upper-echelon football program in the Big 12.

``I think we can get there, and that's not pie in the sky,'' Phillips said.

The athletic center involves revamping the Gallagher-Iba Arena where Oklahoma State's basketball and wrestling teams compete. It modernizes locker rooms and weight facilities and adds new coaches' offices and skyboxes overlooking the football field and the basketball court.

A feasibility study about the football facility last week came back strong, Phillips said. ``People said, `You had better believe that football stadium needs to be a priority,''' Phillips said.

That had a significant impact on Phillips' decision to stay.

Phillips might have been able to double his financial package, believed to be about $225,000, with the move.

``This university is more than fair to me,'' Phillips said. ``It might not be to the extent some other universities are able to be, but I don't have a problem with that. I feel good about being here, I really do.''

``We're going in the right direction, and I wasn't ready to end that direction. As I've said before, (Oklahoma State President James) Halligan is the finest president I have ever worked for.''