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Football coach Troy McAllister leaves Phillips, will take over at Sandburg

Troy McAllister, the only Public League coach to win a state football championship, has left Phillips to take over at Sandburg. 

Phillips coach Troy McAllister talks to his team during practice on March 3rd, 2021.
Phillips coach Troy McAllister talks to his team during practice on March 3rd, 2021.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Troy McAllister, the only Public League coach to win a state football championship, has left Phillips to take over at Sandburg.

“It was a unique opportunity at Sandburg,” McAllister said. “It’s a Class 8A program playing in what is probably the toughest public-school conference in the state. There’s never a good time to leave, but for me it felt like the right moment to make a move and push my professional career.”

McAllister was 94-28 in 11 years with the Wildcats. He led Phillips to the Class 4A state championship in 2015-16 and the Class 5A state championship in 2017-18. Those are the only state football titles in Public League history.

McAllister won a national coaching award sponsored by Gatorade in 2018. The Phillips program has been the face of the Public League for nearly a decade. McAllister said he’s leaving the team in good hands. Joe Winslow, the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator for the last 10 years, will take over as coach.

“Joe was a city championship quarterback at Dunbar,” McAllister said. “He has earned this, and he deserves it. He’s going to do great things at Phillips.”

The last year was emotional and challenging for every football program in the area, but even more so for Phillips. Longtime defensive coordinator Mike Larson, one of McAllister’s best friends, died in January.

“You try to put aside the emotions when you make decisions, but obviously everything that has transpired in the last year takes a toll and changes what you do,” McAllister said. “The loss of [Larson] put things in perspective, and sometimes you have to take -advantage of opportunities that present themselves.”

Sandburg was 1-5 last season under coach Scott Peters, who resigned. The Eagles were once a powerhouse but haven’t qualified for the playoffs in five years.

“Troy’s commitment to cultivating positive experiences for student athletes was evident throughout our process,” Sandburg principal Derrick Smith said. “He values -developing players’ football skills, but he has also designed impressive learning opportunities that support character development and real-world life skills.”