Philip (Phil) Danaher, a 1971 ASU graduate, has enjoyed a 43-year coaching career, the last 33 years as head football coach at Corpus Christi Calallen High School. On Nov. 3, 2016, his Calallen Wildcats beat Corpus Christ Flour Bluff, 31-7, for his 427th career victory. That made Danaher the winningest high school football coach in Texas history as he passed G.A. Moore, who had posted 426 wins with Pilot Point and Celina high schools.
The win over Flour Bluff also helped take the Wildcats to their 32nd straight playoff appearance under Danaher, continuing the longest active streak in state history. Shortly after the game, Danaher told a Texas Monthly reporter, “I’ve always wanted to win. I don’t always have to win, but I want to try to win.”
And the record-setting 2016 season almost had a fairytale ending as Danaher’s Wildcats advanced all the way through the Class 5A Division 2 playoffs before falling to Aledo High School, 24-16, in the state championship game. It was the 14th time he had led the Wildcats at least as far as the state semifinals and was his second shot at the championship game, though a state title remains the only accolade that has eluded him.
Prior to taking the helm at Calallen, Danaher coached at Dilley High School in South-Central Texas and then at Hamshire-Fannett in East Texas. A native of Harlingen, he attended ASU on a football scholarship and also met his wife, Anita, while they were both ASU students. They have three grown children: Cody, who played football at the University of Texas; Wes, who played football at SMU and is in the Texas Football Hall of Fame; and Brittany, who was the Calallen Wildcats’ statistician while she was in high school.
I Chose ASU – Phil Danaher
Why did you choose to attend ASU?
What academic and/or career opportunities did ASU provide?
ASU gave me a 4-year scholarship, an opportunity to play a sport I love, and the academic background needed to be an athletic director.
How did ASU prepare you for your current position?
ASU taught me to be responsible, take ownership, and set goals. These are all traits not specifically taught in classes, but acquired through participation in athletics.
Name a professor who made a difference in your education.
Dr. Jewel Pye made a tremendous impact on me. She was kind and considerate, was an excellent teacher, and always made her lessons interesting. She had a sense of humor and built relationships with her students.
Where was your favorite place on campus and why?
The Ram Room (in the old field house). I am an extremely competitive person. In the Ram Room, I could always find someone willing to play ping pong, cards, pool, etc.
What student groups or activities were you involved with as a student?
Football, student government, FCA
What was one of your most memorable experiences as a student?
Playing football in Nebraska with a temperature of 10 degrees; not my idea of fun!
What was your favorite thing about being an ASU student?
Having an opportunity to meet and become friends with students from throughout the state and country, and the fact that I met my wife while we were both students.
Was there anything about ASU that surprised you when you became a student?
I was surprised that San Angelo seemed to be in the middle of nowhere; it was an oasis. The town was small, but the people I met were very friendly and helpful.
What would you say to prospective students who are considering attending ASU?
Make the most of your college years; they will be gone before you know it. Play, party, and study, but keep it in the proper proportion. Set your goals and always keep them in the forefront of everything you do. Be true to yourself and the values you were taught.