When Lipscomb baseball fans speak of the feats on the field of Phillip Dickens the first thing that comes to mind is his 500-foot home run that landed on the roof of McQuiddy Gym well beyond the right field fence. But Dickens was more than a one-hit wonder. His overall career was one for the ages and as a senior he was named both an NAIA All-American and the team's Most Valuable Player ended his career as the all-time home run hitter in the NAIA. He will be one of five for baseball players scheduled for induction into the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame April 30 in Allen Arena as part of the Baseball Alumni Weekend. He spent some time this past week talking with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played from 1981-84. Ken Dugan was the head coach. Al Austelle was the assistant."
Why did you choose to play baseball at Lipscomb?
"We didn't have a lot of money. I got a scholarship to go there. It was a good school where I could play baseball and get a good education. I talked it over with my parents and we decided I should go to Lipscomb."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"I guess the home run I hit that went on top of the gymnasium against Lincoln Memorial (a maintenance worker retrieved the ball for him). The reason that was it is because my father, Don, never got to come to a lot of my ballgames and he happened to be at that one. I had hit a few long balls, but that one was more memorable than the others because he was able to see it. I was happy about that."
What was your response when you were told that you had been named to the Hall of Fame?
"I was shocked. I was happy. I never thought about the Hall of Fame. When they called and told me about it, it was very humbling. When I think about all of the people who are in there I never thought I would be in it for any reason. It gave me a real good feeling."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"It would be both Steve Liddle and Jeff Guy. When I was a freshman those two guys gave me a lot of help on how to deal with things like the pressure of being on the team. They taught me how to relax and how to follow through with everything I needed to do. I kind of appointed Steve Liddle to be my mentor, but both he and Jeff taught me a lot."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"Just the people…the friends that I made. There were different personalities and different cultures."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"You are on your own. You still have people around you and people who support you, but you are on your own and you have to be able to make good decisions about what you are going to do from day-to-day.
"The atmosphere I work in is very competitive at Nissan. It is like playing ball. I brought that competitiveness here because I want to be the best we can be in my shop. As a teacher, mentor and motivator to my supervisors I want them to teach that competitiveness to the technicians. Just like in baseball you have to be able to coach, teach and motivate."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"Axel Swang. He was a tough teacher, but he would also cut up a lot in class. He was honest. He didn't try to go too in-depth. He wasn't trying to talk over your head. He explained things in a way where almost everybody could understand it.
"He was always at our ball games. He was always there to support you and talk with you. I remember him more than anybody."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I work at Nissan in Smyrna. I am a manager. I have seven supervisors that work for me and 138 technicians that work under the supervisors.
"We do the power train, under body and some of the interior work. The cars come to the chassis department and we put the wheels, suspension, engines, steering wheels and seats in. We build them up.
"I have been here 30 years this month."
Tell us about your family
"My wife's name is Peggy. We have one son, Bobby, and one daughter, Becky. We have four granddaughters - Caitlin, Brittney, Madison and Gracie and one grandson, Mason."
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.