Coaching While Black – A Documentary short

In 2023, the Lindisfarne team worked with Alex Eskandarkhah of Gamble Ave Filmworks to create the documentary short Coaching While Black.

Coaching While Black is the story of a basketball coach who was black balled from college sports after winning back to back conference championships with a recruiting class that changed the make up of college sports for years to come.

The documentary follows the story of Donald “Tex” Phillips. Born in Texas, he spent his high school playing days in Minnesota before being selected as a McDonalds top 100 high school player, his success as a young star led him to a D1 scholarship at the University of Wyoming. Trials and tribulations led him to Brandon University, where he finished out his playing career and earned his Bachelors and Masters in teaching while getting a taste for the coaching under Jerry Hemmings.

documentary short

His experience as a head coach led him and his family to Edmonton, where he made his mark felt as the head coach of Paul Kane High School and single handedly turned the program into a powerhouse in Alberta. After a 70-6 record at PK, Tex got the call from the NAIT Ooks, and got the chance again to turn around another program, this time in the ACAC at the college level. The job made Tex one of the highest paid coaches in the country as NAIT opted to bring in full time head coaches in order to climb the ladder of sports dominance.

In his 3 seasons as the NAIT Ooks coach, Coach Phillips led his team to back to back ACAC championships before being let go as head coach. Since then, many teams have replicated Tex’s recruiting style, bringing in players from all over which has changed the makeup of the ACAC significantly. Since then, Tex has taught on an interim basis at the high school level, and started a non-profit basketball club, called Ameba Starr Basketball Association. Tex lives with his wife and 3 daughters in St. Albert, where he continues to be involved in the basketball community through training, teaching and placing student athletes at different schools and professional clubs all over.

documentary short

Our team used interviews with Tex himself, former colleagues and players, as well as archival articles and footage to help tell the story. We are grateful to Tex for allowing us to help tell his story.

You can view the trailer below:

You can view more of Lindisfarne’s documentary short work here.