NEWTON, Miss. (AP) - Malcolm Phillips, 88, from Newton has long been associated with football and coaching around East Mississippi ever since he played football at East Central Community College in Decatur in the early 1940s.
Upon graduation from ECCC, Phillips went on to play for the University of Memphis in Tennessee. After deciding to make Memphis his home, Phillips took a job as assistant football coach at Humes High School. Phillips has a connection with another Mississippi native who attended Humes by the name of Elvis Aaron Presley, who graduated from the school on June 3, 1953.
Phillips said his first impression of Elvis was that he was a very shy kid.
“The first time I met Elvis he was walking down the hall at school and when I saw him he was so shy he hid behind a door,” Phillips said. “Elvis lived in the projects like a lot of the students did and most of them were very poor and shy.”
Phillips said he began coaching Elvis when he signed up for spring football practice.
“I was already coaching Bobby (Red) West and Elvis had been hanging around him so I think that is where he got the idea he wanted to be like the rest,” Phillips said. “At Humes, if you were male you were expected to play football. He was pretty quick and had some speed but didn’t want to hit and didn’t plan to get hit.”
Phillips said Elvis didn’t like to wear his helmet either because he didn’t want it to mess up his hair.
“I would tell the boys to keep their helmets on and every time I glanced back at them there would be one without his on and that would be Elvis,” Phillips said. “All the other boys had a buzz cut but Elvis had a lot of hair. It was his performing hair and that didn’t go well with a helmet.”
Phillips said it wasn’t long before Elvis quit the team to get a job after school. “He came in my office one day and told me he was getting a job packing groceries so he would have to quit football,” Phillips said. “He needed money to pay for his school lunch. Football wasn’t his forte’ anyway. It was always his music.”
Information from: The Meridian Star, https://www.meridianstar.com
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