Haskell Celebrates Coach Phil Homeratha

Photo Courtesy of Lorene Williams

By Joshua Woosypitti

Recently Haskell Indian Nations University lost a member of the community, Coach Phil Homeratha in late December 2011 with his personal battle with cancer. In response to this tragic loss the alumni, faculty, staff, athletics and numerous tribal communities are now mourning the departure of a man that embodied what Haskell is all about

Located on the Lawrence, Kansas college campus, his life was celebrated and remembered through different honoring ceremonies held within the Haskell powwow circuit, Haskell Athletics Department and the campus gathered on February 04, 2012 to give back memories that held Homeratha as the face of Haskell Athletics for various decades.

His 40 years of active service to tribal people has made him a part of an institution that changed its focus from assimilating values of native people to uplifting and celebrating their individual talents.                                                                                 Photos Courtesy of Lorene Williams

Haskell Indian Nations University has been blessed to have a spirit such as Homeratha to be a part of a legacy that names many Native Americans to a standard that has been the driving force of becoming your best in the various competitions that embodies athletics.

According to the Haskell Athletic mission “Within the context of our university structure, Athletics’ builds respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, integrity, and service leadership,” this statement was nothing but the epitome of Homeratha’s career.

Throughout his career he taught and served thousands of tribal members whether it was inside the classroom or on the various competition playgrounds where many knew him best. His ability to give enlightened critiques was one way many players found his humor or even if it was his charismatic smile that helped him become personable with many that were coached by him.

A year ago Coach Phil Homeratha a member of the Otoe-Missouri tribe, the long time educator, athletic director and coach retired from Haskell Indian Nations University. From this point his battle with cancer became noticeably public as the slender gentleman graced the Coffin Sports Complex basketball court for the last time.

Photo Courtesy of Lorene Williams

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