Phil Blue, Abilene ISD’s athletic director since 2015, announced Wednesday he is retiring, effective May 31.
AISD Superintendent David Young said a search would begin immediately for Blue’s successor with the goal of presenting a recommendation for hire to the AISD board of trustees at its March 7 meeting, followed by an approximate start date of May 2.
“Phil Blue and I had the good fortune to be hired in AISD at roughly the same time in the summer of 2015,” Young said in a news release. “It was quickly obvious to me that Phil is an extremely gifted administrator that loves the students, staff and community that he serves. I have been blessed to work alongside him for almost seven years and absolutely wish him the very best as he ends an educational career that is marked by integrity, compassion and service.”
Blue was hired by AISD on May 11, 2015, after a career that saw him serve as a director of athletics, campus athletics coordinator, assistant coach and head football coach.
He served for five years as the offensive coordinator at Abilene High (2001-05) where he worked under head coach Steve Warren and coached alongside future AHS head coaches Del Van Cox and Mike Fullen.
Cox is now the district’s assistant A.D., while Fullen begins his fourth season as the Eagles’ head coach next fall.
“The past seven years working in Abilene ISD have been an honor and privilege,” Blue said in the release. “I have been blessed to call Dr. David Young my supervisor, and, more importantly, my friend. I will miss working with all of the members of the AISD athletics staff, but I believe it’s time for new leadership ideas and a new vision within the athletics department.”
Blue joined the AISD administrative staff after serving as the executive director of athletics for the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD in 2014-15. He was director of athletics at Georgetown ISD from 2005-2014. Under his leadership, high schools from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and Georgetown ISD consistently finished in the top 10 of the UIL Lone Star Cup standings.
Eighteen Abilene ISD teams at Abilene High and Cooper qualified for the playoffs in 2020-21.
“I am proud to say that every goal that was set by the athletics leadership team back in the spring of 2016 has been achieved,” said Blue, who was honored as the Region 2 Athletics Director of the Year by the Texas High School Athletics Directors’ Association in April.
Blue’s first head coaching opportunity occurred when he was 24 and he served for 19 years as the head football coach at the following high schools – Georgetown, Farmersville, Mineral Wells, Quinlan Ford, Celeste and Texas Christian Academy.
Blue was a two-sport standout at Greenville High School, quarterbacking the football team to an undefeated regular season in 1980. Blue earned five letters and earned all-district honors in football and basketball and in 2016 he was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
He was named quarterback of Greenville’s 1980s all-decade team. In basketball, he was a three-year starter and all-district guard. He also was named Outstanding Senior for the Class of 1981 by the Greenville High faculty.
Blue went on to play quarterback at Texas-Arlington under coach Chuck Curtis, earning three letters and leading the Mavericks in total offense in 1984.
This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Abilene ISD athletic director Phil Blue announces retirement