But it didn’t take long for Killips, now 35, to realize he needed to be a student to be a teacher.
“ ‘At 22 years old, no one’s better than me at knowing the game of soccer,’ ” the Evans coach remembers thinking. “I quickly realized how much I had to learn; I quickly learned I had a lot to learn.”
Killips got advice from Lakeside coach Dave Morgan and Greenbrier coach Chip Warren, watched film and learned to adjust his formations as needed.
Now, Killips continues to see the rewards for his efforts. By leading the Knights to the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs, he is The Augusta Chronicle’s boys soccer coach of the year.
With goalkeeper Jake Rizner and right wing/midfield Jake Shepherd, among many others, the Knights won on the road in the first round of the state playoffs and also played state championship participants Houston County and McIntosh during the season.
Killips has been around sports, especially soccer, since he was little. His father was the athletic director at Alabama-Huntsville, so many hours were spent at games.
Eventually he came into coaching. To strengthen the bond between coach and player, Killips was determined to get back into shape a few years ago. So he started going on runs with the team.
Again, he’s always learning how to be a better coach.
“I’m never going to be that fat coach who sits on the sideline,” Killips said. “My guys are always in the best shape – I push them. How are you going to do that, unless you do it with them?”
With that connection, the coach is seeing wins on the field and trust from those in the program.
“It was one of the most fun years I’ve had,” Killips said. “It was a real good group, a fun group of kids. I’m spoiled rotten.”