Clemmons is pictured with the 1975 Phillips girls basketball state
On Tuesday, May 27, 2008 Coach Bill Clemmons passed away at the age of
A native of Lefors, Clemmons coached in many area towns including Gruver,
Perryton, Adrian,Spring Creek, and Stinnett, but he is widely remembered
for leading the Phillips girls basketball teams to back to back state finals
in 1975 and 1976, with the Blackhawkettes winning it the state title in
One of the players he coached and current Lubbock Monterey girls head
basketball coach, Jill Rankin Schneider, said she owes the success she has
enjoyed to what Clemmons taught her.
Below is a tribute written by Mona Hendrickson Fannon, who was an All-Region
Guard on the 1975 state runner up team.
Perhaps it was a quick grin or simply a pat on the back, or sometimes it was
our last names or nicknames shouted in a loud voice. Sometimes he got in
our face with a desperate plea, or even a raised eyebrow to stop and make
you think. In the next moment, he was cheering you on with a smile from ear
Everyone in Phillips, TX remembers his name—it was Coach Bill Clemmons, a
very extraordinary coach. Some may say all coaches are extraordinary, but
his players would disagree and tell you why he was so unique.
He came to Phillips, TX to coach the Lady Blackhawks back in the fall of
There should have been several years of building this team but he took a
handful of oil town girls along with his daughter, Mary Ann, and taught them
the game of basketball which was new to their Phillips High School.
Coach Bill Clemmons had coaching in his blood for many years, and took on
this enormous task of building a basketball program.
In two short years, he took his first team to the state tournament in
Austin, only losing by one point in the last seconds.
He had made ball handlers out of his only two seniors, Mona Hendrickson and
Mary Ann Clemmons.
Of course, in 1975 this was half court basketball, with Mary Ann handling
the ball on one end and Mona on the other end.
According to Mona, “My job was to get the ball across the half court line to
Jill Rankin, 6’3”, all-state forward.
But of course, we had to shut down the forwards on our end first.
This wasn’t too difficult with other guards, Jan Lawson and Barbara Graves.
Once we got the ball up the court, then Mary Ann Clemmons, Tammy Arrington,
and Jill Rankin scored the points for the 1974-75 team.
Mary Ann and Tammy could hit anything outside or even drive up the middle,
when they weren’t passing to ‘Power House Post,’ Jill Rankin.”
We can thank our winning strategies to our dedicated Coach Bill Clemmons who
never gave up on any of his players.
At times, we thought we could not run another set of lines, but now 30 years
later, we realize he knew exactly what he was doing.
When it got down to the final plays of the game, guess who was still running
hard and not out of breath--the Phillips Lady Hawkettes.
He taught us the meaning of perseverance, spirit courage, commitment, and
How could a new coach lead a handful of girls in a small oil town to the
state tournament two years in a row?
The first year, in 1975, only losing by one point to George West, and then
clenching the state title in 1976 against Bellville.
Members of the 1975 State Semi-Finalist Team were Mary Ann Clemmons, Jill
Rankin, Tammy Arrington, Ronda Hoffman, Mona Hendrickson, Jan Lawson,
Barbara Graves, Janet Morris, Sandra Schroeder, Kim Arrington, and Connie
Members of the 1976 State Team were Jill Rankin, Debra Rankin, Kay White,
Tammy Arrington, Janet Morris, Sandra Schroeder, Jan Lawson, Barbara Graves,
Clandy McClellan, and Kim Arrington.
Yes, Coach Bill Clemmons might have seemed very tough and extreme on the
outside, but those of us who really knew him realized that he had such a
kind heart and simply wanted the best for his team.
Indeed the Phillips Lady Blackhawks were a Power House in the 70’s because
of one man’s dreams coming true. He definitely made his mark in this
He was a legend and an inspiration to us all.
Thanks, Coach Clemmons, for allowing me to be a part of your winning team
and teaching me to love the game of basketball.
Mona Hendrickson Fannon, Class of 1975, All-Region Guard
The Bill Clemmons’ family are asking any one who played on any of his teams
to come by Brown’s Funeral Home and sign a special basketball in his memory.
Coaching Record in 1975—29 wins, 7 losses (District IAA Champions, Regional
Champions, and State Semi-Finalists) (3 All District, 2 All Regional
Tournament, 1 All State)
Coaching Record in 1976—25 wins and 5 losses (District IAA Champions,
Regional Champions, and State Champions)(4 All District, 2 All State, 4
All-State Tournament, and Jill Rankin, Outstanding High School Basketball
Player of the Year, and High School All-American).