Philip Wayne 'Phil' Speck
Long-time Southern Huntingdon girls' basketball coach
Philip Wayne “Phil” Speck, 62, of Saltillo, passed away peacefully in his sleep at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 25, 2020 at his residence surrounded by his family following a nearly four-month battle with cancer. He had resided at the home of Ryan and Martha Garlock the last two months following his diagnosis, but had returned to his residence recently.
Born June 7, 1957, in Huntingdon, he was the son of the late Dave and L'Nor Speck of Huntingdon.
Mr. Speck is survived by a son, Garrett and his wife Kacey of Boston, MA, and a daughter, Jordan of Washington, D.C. He is also survived by two brothers, Jeff of Huntingdon, and half-brother David and wife Wanda of Huntingdon along with nephews Michael “Boomer” Kalos, Matt Speck and Bryant Speck and a niece Katie Lee as well as his good friend Melissa Beidelman.
Phil was a member of the Class of 1975 at Huntingdon Area High School where he was a three-sport standout, earning seven varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball. He was also named the Bearcats' outstanding senior in baseball.
Phil worked for the Huntingdon Borough Summer Playground program and swimming pool program while in high school, under the supervision of his high school basketball coach George Weaver.
Phil earned his bachelor's degree in pre-law in 1979 and his teaching certificate in 1984 from Juniata College and a master's degree in education from Shippensburg University in 1989. He lettered as a freshman and sophomore in baseball at Juniata, but due to a scheduling difficulty, he was unable to play his last two years for the Indians.
He was a four-year participant in the Huntingdon Little League as well as a three-year player for Huntingdon Teener League and was selected as an all-star at both levels. Phil was a member of numerous championship teams in the Huntingdon City Baseball League with South Side and VFW, as well as the Huntingdon County Baseball League with Broad Top. He also played on several championship teams in the Huntingdon City Basketball League while a member of the Doc's Bar team.
Phil's coaching experience actually dates back to the mid 1970's when he assisted his father who was coaching in the Huntingdon Pee Wee Football League. He later went on to serve as an assistant football coach under longtime friend Tim Launtz at West Branch High School in Morrisdale in the early 1980's and then became head coach in 1982. He was then an assistant football and track coach at Juniata Valley during the 1983-84 school year and assisted the Juniata College Women's Basketball team in 1984-85, while serving as Director of Intramurals at his alma mater.
Speck began coaching at Southern Huntingdon County High School as an assistant in girls' basketball prior to the 1985-86 season and helped his former wife, Missy, through the 1991-92 campaign. The following year, Phil took over the Rocket girls' varsity reigns and built the program into one that received state recognition.
He served as the Southern Huntingdon girls' head basketball coach for 20 years through the 2011-12 season, amassing an overall record of 416-125, which also included five league titles and two District Six Class AA championships. Under Speck, Southern had played in seven District Six championship games and qualified for the PIAA playoffs 10 times, including three times advancing as far as the Western Final. His 1999-2000 team still holds the area girls' all-time best record with a 29-2 mark.
Phil was also proud to guide 11 players who surpassed the 1,000-point plateau during his two decades at the helm, including his daughter Jordan, who is also just one of Phil's proteges who continued their academic and basketball careers at the college level and now following in his footsteps as coaches.
Phil stepped down as Rocket head coach in 2012 due to family considerations, and to follow Jordan's final season as a player at Juniata.
He returned to the Rocket girls' varsity head coach position prior to the start of the 2018-19 season and was 11 games into the 2019-20 campaign before his health forced him to discontinue coaching.
Phil, who was a member of the 2015 Class of the Huntingdon County Sports Hall of Fame, was a special education teacher for 30 years at Southern Huntingdon before retiring in 2015 and was in his 12th year as the Rockets' athletic director before his health became an issue.
He was of the Christian faith and felt he had a personal relationship with God. Phil, who had a deep love for sports, also loved the time he spent with his many friends, family and especially his children.
He was a fan of the holidays, especially Christmas and enjoyed the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas when holiday music could be heard on the radio. His goal in life was to put good in the world and anyone who knew Phil knows he accomplished his goal.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Martin R. Brown Funeral Home, Orbisonia, PA. However, due to the recent pandemic, a memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in memory of Mr. Speck to Family Hospice of Huntingdon or to the Lady Rocket Basketball Program at Southern Huntingdon County High School.
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