- - Friday, September 9, 2011

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia tight end Colter Phillips was injured last week, but Cavaliers coach Mike London said he “wouldn’t even try” to keep Phillips off the plane this weekend.

That’s because Saturday’s game against Indiana will pit Colter against his younger brother Paul, a tight end for the Hoosiers.

“My mom [Janet] went a little over the top,” Colter said. “She made group T-shirts; they’re going to be ‘Wahoosiers’ for the day.”

The Phillips family, with the exception of Paul, recently moved to Charlottesville, Va. Colter’s brother Andrew is in a grad-school program at U.Va., while younger brother Willy attends St. Anne’s-Belfield.

The move has allowed Janet to be with her sons nearly a year after a plane crash in Alaska killed her husband, Bill. Willy was on board but survived the crash.

“It’s been great to see them whenever I want to or need to,” Colter said.

The junior added this weekend’s game will be a continuation of a childhood rivalry.

“Paul and I were usually the ones to get in fights and make our parents go crazy,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be fun to see him out there, and he’s been doing a great job at IU.”

Colter also reminisced on how his father would handle it when the two brothers fought.

He would make them have “hug and kiss” time where they would have to spend 10 minutes with their arm around each other, then kiss each other on the cheek at the end.

“That really made the fights start to diminish a bit,” Colter said with a laugh. “That was not a favorite of the younger Phillips boys at the time, but now looking back, it’s hilarious.”

London’s ties with the family go way back. He recruited Colter when he was an assistant at U.Va., and then tried to recruit Paul to Richmond when he was the coach there.

London took the job with the Wahoos and stayed in contact with Paul, but there were already two tight ends, Jake McKee and Zach Swanson, in that year’s recruiting class. London also has an early in with Willy.

“He and my son Corbin have become good friends,” London said. “I’ve known the family for a while. Didn’t know the oldest brother as much, but others I’ve gotten to know pretty well.”

The coach said in light of Colter’s undisclosed injury, he would be a “game-time decision,” but he’d definitely be on the sideline in uniform. Likewise, Paul has been a role player for the Hoosiers, but will be dressed and ready to go.

Regardless of how the on-field portion turns out, it will be an opportunity for the family to gather with friends and celebrate Colter and Paul’s collegiate careers, which they say have been heavily influenced by the lessons their dad taught them.

“Each one of us separately are different, but at the same time, we’re really alike in the fact that we hold the same values that my parents taught us,” Colter said. “Having a quiet confidence in yourself and with what you do in life, it’s something that all four of us possess.”

• Read Michael Phillips’ blog at: https://www2.timesdispatch.com/list/sports-college-uva/

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