Former ACU football player and record holder, Dale “Scooter” Phillips was killed in a plane crash Monday night. He was 47 years old.
Garner Roberts, a friends of Phillips’ and ACU’s former Sports Information Director, found out on Tuesday, and he was shocked to hear the news.
“I found out early Tuesday morning that he was missing, before they even found the wreckage,” Roberts said. “He was a good physical therapist in Abilene. It’s unbelievable.”
Phillips was the pilot of a plane that took off from Abilene Regional Airport on Monday night. According to the Abilene Reporter News, the the Federal Aviation Administration-Abilene Tower lost contact with Phillips about 5 miles northeast of Albany.
The Shackleford County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 7:44 p.m. from the FAA – Abilene Tower that contact had been lost. Civil Air Patrol, Department of Public Safety and firefighters in the county immediately began a search, but due to darkness had to suspend the search at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The search resumed at 7 a.m. and at 9 a.m. they found part of a wing of Phillips’ Piper Comanche aircraft. Later the fuselage and remains of Phillips and his passenger Amy Clay were found.
The cause of the crash is unknown, but officials do know that Phillips and Clay were headed to a business meeting in Oklahoma.
Phillips played for the Wildcats in both the 1984 and ’85 seasons. His record setting performance came in 1985 against Northern Colorado. In that game Phillips caught four touchdown passes from quarterback Rex Lamberti, leading the Wildcats to a 45-23 win.
“He was a likeable young man while he was here.” Roberts said. “We always used to say that he made Rex Lamberti look like a really good quarterback, even though he already was, because he has such a good receiver to throw to.”
After his 1985 campaign, Phillips was placed on the honorable mention all-Lone Star Conference team.