Auburn alumnus, Phillips athletics department dentist driven by a passion to help others
A need to serve has guided former Auburn student Dr. Jim Phillips Jr. through various roles during his prestigious career.
Phillips not only volunteers as a dentist for the Auburn Athletics team, but he is also a member of the College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, Dean’s Leadership Council, sits on the Sports Hall of Fame selection committee of Alabama and was recently elected president of the Alabama Dental Association, or ALDA.
“I’ve always had the feeling and the need to contribute,” said Phillips. “I’m just trying to do my part with the things I do with Auburn and serving the dental association.”
Phillips graduated from Auburn in 1980, and his relationship with the school goes deeper than just being his alma mater. Her father, Jim “Red” Phillips, was co-captain of the 1957 national champion Auburn football team, and her mother, Mickey, was a cheerleader.
Phillips was destined for Auburn, and his affinity for school came naturally.
“Some of the first words I said when I was a baby were ‘War Eagle’,” Phillips said. “I have a plate that the coach [Shug] Jordan offered me a football scholarship when I was born. I grew up knowing Auburn and wanting to go to Auburn so it was an easy decision for me. It was in my blood.
Phillips volunteered as a dentist for the Auburn Athletics team for over 20 years. His first action in the role? Mouthguard manufacturing for Coach Sonny Smith’s men’s basketball team and Coach Joe Ciampi’s women’s basketball team.
Since then, Phillips has been a part of the track and field program through many monumental moments, his favorite being the 2010 National Football Championship. However, the most rewarding thing for him is being able to use his expertise to help injured athletes. come back to the field.
“It’s been a way for me to give back to the program,” Phillips said. “We’re just trying to take care of the kids. The most rewarding thing is being able to be there for them.
Phillips suffered several serious injuries while serving as a team dentist.
“We had a basketball player who took an elbow and four of her lower front teeth were under her tongue when she came in, but we were able to put the teeth and bones back together and she didn’t lose any. teeth, “said Phillips.” The football team called me on the plane home from Ole Miss saying that a player had suffered a bad impact, the tooth was sticking out of the lip and I had to take a look at the tooth. I met them at 5:30 am and helped him out of the pain.
During football games, you won’t find Phillips on the sidelines, but rather in his favorite stadium seat with his phone nearby for any call for help. Outside of Jordan-Hare, you might find him assisting the COSAM Dean’s Governing Council, acting as an advisor and working with pre-dental students, a role he happily fulfills. for almost 10 years.
The COSAM Dean’s Governing Board is a network of alumni who work to enhance and promote the college’s mission by serving as the face of the college. Those selected as members must have lived and worked while exemplifying the characteristics of a well-rounded citizen.
“It’s an advisory group,” Phillips said. “I think it’s a good group, and we’re doing a good job. We listen and help with fundraising and that sort of thing.
After earning a geology degree from Auburn, Phillips attended the University of Alabama School of Dentistry at Birmingham and served as a representative for the Student Dental Association. This began his involvement in organized dentistry and ALDA.
“I have seen the value of dentists trying to encourage improved oral health in the community,” said Phillips, who has practiced in Auburn for over 30 years. “A speaking dentist cannot influence anything, but a group speaking together can have a voice.”
The ALDA is a nonprofit organization that is part of the American Dental Association and is made up of dentists who practice in the state of Alabama.
As he was finishing his dental studies, Phillips’ dean of business alerted him to a dental practice for sale in Auburn. Phillips took the opportunity and kept Phillips Family Dentistry in the Auburn community for over 30 years.
“During my junior and senior year I was looking for a place to train,” said Philips. “We were looking anywhere along Columbus 280 [Georgia] in Birmingham. It was a situation where the guy was leaving to go to the military, and the practice became available. I bought the practice and never looked back.
Prior to being elected President of ALDA, Phillips served as Chairman of the Strategic Planning Board, Vice-President and President-Elect.
As he steps into his new role as president, Phillips’ goal is to break down barriers within dentistry and stand up for dentists across the state. He wants to ensure that all dentists in the state, regardless of their practice model or specialty, feel represented.
“We strive to be representative of all dentists in the state of Alabama,” Phillips said. “The most important thing we have to do is stand up for our dentists and the patients we serve. “