Phil Wertman

Called one of the best High School Athletes to come out of Southwest Iowa, Phil lettered in football, basketball, track and baseball all four years he was a student at Villisca High School. He also participated in golf his freshman year. Phil was a leader on and off the sports fields. He commanded the respect of those around him by his spirit of commitment, his timely application of knowledge with common sense, his courage to face new challenges and his mutual respect toward others.

All-conference four times, he was a member Tall Corn Conference Team Champions in football, basketball, track, and baseball in 1966-1967. In his freshman year, the football coach put Phil in as the “kicker”, giving Phil the nickname “The Toe”. In football, Phil received all-conference recognition three years and was Class B All Southwest Iowa quarterback his senior year. He also received All Southwest Iowa status in basketball as well as All-Conference honors.

He was a team member and leading scorer on the 1965 (Indoor), 1966, and 1967 VHS State Championship Track teams. In all he won six individual state titles as a sprinter and pole vaulter. He set the Class B State Record in 1966 and that record stands in 2009. In 1967 he placed 2nd in the National High School Meet setting an Iowa Interscholastic record of 14′ 10″ in the pole vault. He held that record in all classifications from 1966 to 1972. In 1966 he placed 6th in the pole vault in the National High School meets and 2nd in the 1967 season

The Omaha World Herald named him Southwest Iowa Athlete of the Year in 1967.

In addition to his accomplishments in sports Phil played the tuba in the VHS band, served as president of the Letterman’s Club, was a member of the Teen Haven council and was a member of a Montgomery County 4-H group, all this while helping out on his family’s dairy farm.

Upon graduation he entered the University of Iowa earning a letter in football and track his freshman year. He earned four consecutive letters in track and field and after numerous places in the Big Ten Conference, he was conference champion in 1971, setting a University of Iowa Pole Vault record as well as a Big Ten Record.

Phil’s career path has been as a high school coach, serving at Des Moines Hoover High School as a Teacher/Coach from1973 to 1977; Red Oak High School as a Teacher/Coach (head) from 1977 to 1979; and then at Fruita Monument High School Grand Junction, Colorado as Teacher/Coach from 1979 until he retired in 2005. In his coaching career he coached five Regional Championships; 10 State (Individual) Champions; and one two time Collegiate All American. He is a nationally certified track official. He carried the qualities he first displayed at Villisca High School into his coaching career, serving not only as a coach but a role model for his students.

Phil lives with his family in Grand Junction, Colorado.