ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Mike Phelps, born on September 28, 1945 and passed away on October 2, 2019, at his home just after his 74th birthday, surrounded by loved ones. We will remember him forever.

The funeral will be held at Assumption Catholic Church, 1851 136th Avenue,  in San Leandro, on Monday, October 14, 2019 at 10:30 AM with a Celebration of Life Reception directly following the mass in the Gymnasium. People are encouraged to bring one of Coach's favorite sweet treats for the dessert table. A light lunch will be provided. There will also be an open microphone during the reception to share your thoughts and great memories and stories. 

Please add pictures to the gallery!  

In lieu of flowers and gifts, please make a donation in Mike's name to the Parkinson's Foundation at www.parkinson.org.
Posted by Joseph Rainey on May 18, 2020
I am so sad to belatedly hear this news. Mike Phelps is one of the greatest men - not coaches, not educators - I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

As my HS algebra teacher at St. Joseph's HS Alameda, he was knowledgeable, patient, and had multiple ways to explain a problem to any student in his classes. I stunk at algebra, but to this day,I can help my son solve any algebra problem thanks to what I learned from Mike Phelps.

As a basketball coach, I have to this day never seen ANY better at ANY level of the sport, maximizing the ability of a very small talent pool at a very small school to win as a team against opponents with superior numbers and talent.

I was never on the team, but in gym class, he gave aspiring basketball players the same level of attention to advancing their knowledge of the game and maximizing their skills and ability to compete, as he did to his team players. I still remember him excitedly congratulating me in gym class for getting in position to draw a charge and perfectly executing the weight transfer to the heels he taught us to fall backwards and draw the referee's attention to the charge call. I was never going to be on a team to use that skill in front of a referee, but he taught it so well that even I could do it, and he recognized me for doing it right.

I transferred from St. Joe's in 1976, but watched in wonder as my former school's basketball coach assigned a 6'2" center, Paul Fox, to front a 6'7" "All Everything," Haaken Austerfjord, of Monta Vista HS, and then a 6'11" future NBA player, Mark McNamara, of Del Mar, and completely shut both of them down (with back side help, of course) in what everyone in the local press touted as a miraculous and surprising advance to the TOC Finals at the Oakland Coliseum. This was Chaminade beating Virginia and Ralph Sampson before that actually had happened. But it was no surprise to those St. Joe's players, or to anyone who knew Coach Phelps. His teams were always prepared to the max, and they always believed, if they executed their plan, they could beat anyone.

When I returned to the Bay Area, years after leaving HS and after graduating from the Naval Academy and starting a Navy career, he remembered me - just a student, not one of his players - and greeted me kindly and warmly. I am very sad and very sorry no more students will be learning algebra, basketball,or baseball from Mike Phelps. I am saddened my 15 year old son will never get to meet him or learn a basketball or baseball coaching nuance from him. It would have been an absolute honor for him to do so. God bless you and welcome you Coach Mike.
Posted by Denise Noleroth on October 15, 2019
This is on behalf of William McCarthy....a teammate of Coach's at St. Joseph's.

I arrived at St. Joseph's from Hawaii in my junior year. I played baseball with Mike and I have to say as good as he was he was a better person. My mother thought the world of Mike and no matter how good my grades were or how well I played baseball, I was always reminded I should be like Mike. I went off to the Naval Academy and into the Navy, never returning to St. Joe's. If I had it would have been to see Mike.

Mike, May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, and until we meet again may the good Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand.

William McCarthy
Posted by Denise Noleroth on October 15, 2019
This is on behalf for Jim Collins. He was not able to be at the Memorial today as his PGA Junior League team was playing for the SemiFinals for the National Championship in Scottsdale today.

"As you know, I coached with Coach from 1979-1991. I remember Coach asking me to coach the Freshmen team.....I was 19 years old at the time and quite frankly a little "out of control". Coach told me to be responsible, be dedicated to the kids, be organized, and make sure to have fun and run only the plays I tell you to!! So I had to grow up quickly!

So one quick moment to share....My first year as JV Coach, I submitted my roster to Coach that had 12 kids on it. Kid #12 was Brian Shaw. Coach said he's too small and skinny so keep this other kid instead of him. I said, Coach, I think he could be pretty good. But Coach said "No", and then Brian's Dad walked into the gym, he's 6'4", about 220, and I said, Coach, there's his Dad. Coach took one look at him and said, "Keep him!"

I visited with Coach last week with Dale Noleroth. I thanked Coach for teaching me his Principles of Coaching, which I have used my entire life. I also told him that I would not be the man I am today without his tutoring.

In closing, my dad passed away when I was 4 years old, so I never really knew him.....however, I have tried to raise my kids kind of like how Coach Phelps taught me those basic principles of life, and how he coached, and if I could choose a dad, I would want him to be like Coach!

God Bless Coach Phelps. I love you, Coach! ----- From Jim Collins
Posted by Eugene Agnew on October 14, 2019
I met Mike as a young man entering high school.I had lots of unbridled energy and was a handful .As a teacher, a boss, and a coach Mike always tried to steer me in the right direction. The most important of all Mikes rolls was that he became a friend.I do not use that term lightly, we meet many people in our lives but few receive the honor a being ones friend.I am thankful for our many long conversations , victories and memories.My life has become a very happy and positive one. I give many thanks to Mike for helping me get there. Your friend-Gene Agnew..
Posted by MARK DELUCA on October 14, 2019
Coach Phelps thank you for being a mentor of mine. I truly treasured every moment with you. To this day I use the stuff you taught me with my players and coaches. You were a great teacher, and the best HS coach I'd ever seen bar none-no contest. You were also great at teaching coaches. Competing against you, Pete, Lou, Mike, Tony, and Doug was an honor. Your legacy lives on forever in your players, coaches and students. May the blood of Jesus cover and protect all those who mourn you as you have received a grand entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Posted by Eric Holloway on October 13, 2019
I feel so very bad about all those in the Bishop O'Dowd family and beyond who Mourne the death of Michael Edwin Phelps. He was a great mentor to many people, including a lot of players on the O'Dowd basketball team I played with. In the most humble way, I pray for those who are going through pain because of the death of Phelps. Many will miss him. God speed!
Posted by Bob Sickenger on October 12, 2019
As a young man, Mike was an alter server at my wedding. During his long career as an educator, he was an excellent teacher of mathematics and an outstanding coach of both basketball and baseball. He was always a gentleman and a friend.
Posted by Craig Makela on October 12, 2019
Coach you are the reason I came to O’dowd In 1978. Your coaching /teaching skills to this day are things I still reach back on. In Life when I’ve had tough decision would size it up as a basketball game coached by you. Positive attitude , never give up , do it the right way , discipline. You will always be the greatest Coach in History to me and many others. RIP Love You
Posted by Ilan Remler on October 11, 2019
Coach Phelps was a great human being. He was a driven coach who took the game and the people who played the game seriously. I will always remember the night before we were to make cuts. He reviewed, with all the coaches, the person, the player, the statistics, and more and would go on and on. He took the hopes and dreams of countless kids seriously and with amazing care and ability. He loved to teach and loved to coach. I wish he could have died doing those things and thank God that I had the chance to know him. God bless you coach.
Posted by Jan Creighton on October 11, 2019
Wow, Mikey, where to begin...? We met as you and Jimmy became colleagues at St. Joe’s as young teachers in 1970. (I was only seventeen!) Leaving there (after the big rebellion) and moving forward to O’Dowd, we still took our places behind your (stinky) teams and cheered them on until moving to Oregon in 1980. The elation we as a community felt over your little St. Joe’s teams’ successes was unbelievable, and as so many here, we were privy to your magic and relentless hard work, your belief in your kids.
Like a brother for the rest of my life, we traveled through so many chapters, and your comical relationship with Jimmy until his death, fills my heart and makes me smile. As a co-home owner, godfather to our kids, provider of a lifetime of love and friendship, you are a solid gem in my heart, and forever “Mikey.” Thank you for being that sweet and inspirational force in our lives. (Being at Jimmy’s bedside in Oregon near his death meant so much.) You never ever stopped loving all of these people who now write! Infamy is a wonderful thing. Bless you and thank you.
“ Jannie “
Posted by John Dinga on October 10, 2019
Posted by John Phelps Dinga, 10 October 2019. I hope you noticed my middle name, which caused me to have an immediate affinity to Mike when I met him in my sophomore year at St. Joes. He and I played handball almost every morning before classes at St. Joes, and shared classes for three year before we graduated in June 1963. He was a great classmate, and teammate on the baseball team, and he already demonstrated the qualities that so many have praised in their tributes after he worked as a coach and teacher at St. Joes and O'Dowd. I last met Mike over lunch in 2013; unfortunately I could not convince him to join the St. Joes 50th class reunion later that year. I will remember him and miss him.
Posted by Don Lippi on October 9, 2019
I worked with Steve Phelps at Saint Ignatius - Paul Phelps was my friend at St. Joseph Notre Dame - and Mike Phelps and I competed for many years when he coached at O'Dowd. Pound for pound the best basketball coach in the Bay Area. If you played Mike's teams you better be ready to play with intensity. If want to get a good shot you better have a good offense, becasue they defended!! If you want to stop his team you better be able to maintain your defensive intensity for a longer period of time than other teams. Mike's team took only good shots and they defended with excellence. Mike was a friend of mine becasue I know his family so well and becasue our paths crossed with basketball competition. In l978 I was lucky enough to replace Mike at St. Joseph Notre Dame as the basketball coach and Atheltic Director. Mike helped me with both positions when he left. He suggested I take the Athletic Director position and that was a good suggestion. Thanks for all the memories Mike we all looked up to you as the best at what you do. Peace-Don Lipi
Posted by Mike Waldrip on October 9, 2019
The key to success for any coach/teacher/mentor is to maximize potential. All great coaches have this ability. What made Mr. Phelps the greatest coach ever was not only his ability to maximize potential but also to see potential in people that others didn't or couldn't see, usually including the person them self. Mr Phelps ability to see the FULL potential in people was a rare gift. When you combined that gift with the tools for people to see their own potential, teach the lessons required to achieve that potential and provide unwavering and often times relentless support for people, then you are no longer just coaching basketball or baseball or teaching Algebra..... you are changing peoples lives. Forever. That's what made Mr Phelps the greatest coach ever.
Posted by Naomi Bannister on October 8, 2019
Your bark was always bigger than your bite. Your generosity, grace and mercy were boundless. The things you wanted, most often you’d get and what others needed, most often you’d give. 

A quiet, shy man at first glance to those who didn’t know you but a Beast when it came to the intricate details and nuances of the games of baseball and basketball.

For those who believe, we will see you again someday. Until then I will remember the limitless love you had for your family, friends, students, teams, teaching, coaching and COOKIES! “I probably shouldn’t eat this stuff but. . .”
Posted by Garry Hill-Thomas on October 8, 2019
This is tough to write...Coach, you will be greatly missed. Thank you for everything you did for my family and I. You were a great coach and teacher but a better person. You helped me mold the foundation to be a man. You influenced so many lives in your lifetime. We can all hope to have that said about us. I will miss you! Love always. 
Posted by Luke Jubb on October 8, 2019
Your leadership, commitment, and passion for the game taught us so much more than what we developed on the court. The influence you had on your players transcended the game of basketball, allowing us to thrive in so many other aspects of our lives. Thank you for the guidance, wisdom, and patience you showed to me when I needed it most. You will be missed, Coach.
Posted by Dale Noleroth on October 8, 2019
Coach Phelps was such an influence on me as a person, my understanding of teamwork, hard work, discipline, attention to detail, being able to accomplish more than I thought possible, and being a part of something bigger than myself. I was blessed to share alot of time with Mr Phelps during my time at O'Dowd that I wouldn't trade for anything. Those times formed the person I am today, and I am a better person because of Coach. He will be missed, but his spirit and influence live on through all of us that were so fortunate to have known him. Love you Coach!
Posted by William Lyons on October 8, 2019
Michael Phelps was an inspiration to athletes and teachers. He brought the best out of his basketball team developing "player-playoff talent" every year. Mike interjected a friendly positive attitude with teachers and staff. He offered support and plenty of laughter with his colleagues and students. I really missed Mike when he left O'Dowd. I shared my feelings with his brother Steve that became President of the school. Michael was truly a remarkable teacher and coach. 
Posted by Fran Warmerdam on October 7, 2019
Mike Phelps was a legend to many - and that title is well-deserved, to be sure. However, more important to me was his kindness, his gentleness, his passion for teaching, both off and on the court, and how honorable he was. As a young teacher and counselor, he both mentored me and helped me feel competent. He was a humble man, asking a young counselor for advice, when he knew full well that he didn't need any advice. He was a huge promoter of "the team," and not just a basketball team, but the team that surrounds us in work and in life. I feel your loss deeply, as do so many others whom you mentored and supported. Thank you, Mike.
Posted by Marguerite Green on October 7, 2019
Dear Mike,

I'm a witness to the difference you made in so many. You shared your love of math with your students, we still laugh at your banapple analogy and your love for the sport of basketball. You were tough and loving at the same time. You will be missed and I treasure the memories.
Posted by Paul Phelps on October 6, 2019
You were an awesome brother and role model.It was so great having you as a big brother but it was not always easy.People expected me to be able to coach like you,but you were always on a level that was well beyond my reach.I learned almost everything I know about basketball and baseball from you.I remember when you were my 4th grade basketball coach and my Babe Ruth League baseball coach from age 13 to 15.Thank you for believing in me so much because you never knew how much I needed that belief.Any success I had as a player or coach was because of you.I remember many years ago when I asked if I could crash on your living room floor for 2 weeks and I stayed for 2 years.I remember when you loaned me the money I needed to start my business.I mostly remember how much you genuinely cared about and loved your players,coaches and friends.You will be missed and you always be loved.Thank you for your love and helping so much to make my life more than I ever imagined it could be.
Posted by J K Scott on October 4, 2019
My deepest gratitude for your enduring friendship, laughter, and decades of heartfelt memories that would fill libraries full of good times, challenging times and always the best of times with your abundant spirit. Mike you soar in the highest realms of being. I'm forever thankful for your presence in life. Love always J K
Posted by Kathleen Ciuk on October 4, 2019
I did not know Mike Phelps well only through my daughter and son in law. We would get together with mike over a few holidays in the past and always enjoyed our visits we had with this kind man. I will never forget how he told me over a thanksgiving holiday that my stuffing was the best stuffing he had ever had. I said thank you mike it’s only stove top. He said it was better than his mother’s. We had a good laugh about that. You will be missed mike and we are still eating stove top.
Posted by Tony Ronzone on October 4, 2019
I write this with great sadness over the loss of my friend, father figure, and mentor. Coach Phelps helped shaped me to be the person I am today. His care and love for everyone he touched will always be remembered. Coach will be missed as his beautiful spirit will live in though everyone he touched. Coach I Love you !!! Rest in peace as you will always be coaching from above.
Posted by Denise Noleroth on October 3, 2019
So thankful for the influence you were in my life. You brought so much to me and you didn't even realize it. I miss our Wednesday's already. The last 10 months gave me such precious time with you. I will never forget it. I will always celebrate you for the man you were.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Joseph Rainey on May 18, 2020
I am so sad to belatedly hear this news. Mike Phelps is one of the greatest men - not coaches, not educators - I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

As my HS algebra teacher at St. Joseph's HS Alameda, he was knowledgeable, patient, and had multiple ways to explain a problem to any student in his classes. I stunk at algebra, but to this day,I can help my son solve any algebra problem thanks to what I learned from Mike Phelps.

As a basketball coach, I have to this day never seen ANY better at ANY level of the sport, maximizing the ability of a very small talent pool at a very small school to win as a team against opponents with superior numbers and talent.

I was never on the team, but in gym class, he gave aspiring basketball players the same level of attention to advancing their knowledge of the game and maximizing their skills and ability to compete, as he did to his team players. I still remember him excitedly congratulating me in gym class for getting in position to draw a charge and perfectly executing the weight transfer to the heels he taught us to fall backwards and draw the referee's attention to the charge call. I was never going to be on a team to use that skill in front of a referee, but he taught it so well that even I could do it, and he recognized me for doing it right.

I transferred from St. Joe's in 1976, but watched in wonder as my former school's basketball coach assigned a 6'2" center, Paul Fox, to front a 6'7" "All Everything," Haaken Austerfjord, of Monta Vista HS, and then a 6'11" future NBA player, Mark McNamara, of Del Mar, and completely shut both of them down (with back side help, of course) in what everyone in the local press touted as a miraculous and surprising advance to the TOC Finals at the Oakland Coliseum. This was Chaminade beating Virginia and Ralph Sampson before that actually had happened. But it was no surprise to those St. Joe's players, or to anyone who knew Coach Phelps. His teams were always prepared to the max, and they always believed, if they executed their plan, they could beat anyone.

When I returned to the Bay Area, years after leaving HS and after graduating from the Naval Academy and starting a Navy career, he remembered me - just a student, not one of his players - and greeted me kindly and warmly. I am very sad and very sorry no more students will be learning algebra, basketball,or baseball from Mike Phelps. I am saddened my 15 year old son will never get to meet him or learn a basketball or baseball coaching nuance from him. It would have been an absolute honor for him to do so. God bless you and welcome you Coach Mike.
Posted by Denise Noleroth on October 15, 2019
This is on behalf of William McCarthy....a teammate of Coach's at St. Joseph's.

I arrived at St. Joseph's from Hawaii in my junior year. I played baseball with Mike and I have to say as good as he was he was a better person. My mother thought the world of Mike and no matter how good my grades were or how well I played baseball, I was always reminded I should be like Mike. I went off to the Naval Academy and into the Navy, never returning to St. Joe's. If I had it would have been to see Mike.

Mike, May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, and until we meet again may the good Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand.

William McCarthy
Posted by Denise Noleroth on October 15, 2019
This is on behalf for Jim Collins. He was not able to be at the Memorial today as his PGA Junior League team was playing for the SemiFinals for the National Championship in Scottsdale today.

"As you know, I coached with Coach from 1979-1991. I remember Coach asking me to coach the Freshmen team.....I was 19 years old at the time and quite frankly a little "out of control". Coach told me to be responsible, be dedicated to the kids, be organized, and make sure to have fun and run only the plays I tell you to!! So I had to grow up quickly!

So one quick moment to share....My first year as JV Coach, I submitted my roster to Coach that had 12 kids on it. Kid #12 was Brian Shaw. Coach said he's too small and skinny so keep this other kid instead of him. I said, Coach, I think he could be pretty good. But Coach said "No", and then Brian's Dad walked into the gym, he's 6'4", about 220, and I said, Coach, there's his Dad. Coach took one look at him and said, "Keep him!"

I visited with Coach last week with Dale Noleroth. I thanked Coach for teaching me his Principles of Coaching, which I have used my entire life. I also told him that I would not be the man I am today without his tutoring.

In closing, my dad passed away when I was 4 years old, so I never really knew him.....however, I have tried to raise my kids kind of like how Coach Phelps taught me those basic principles of life, and how he coached, and if I could choose a dad, I would want him to be like Coach!

God Bless Coach Phelps. I love you, Coach! ----- From Jim Collins
his Life

The Basics

Born : September 28, 1945 
Parents : Edwin and Patricia
Siblings : Steve, Karen, & Paul 
Graduated from St. Joseph's Notre Dame High School in 1963
Bachelor of Science, Physical Education, Cal State East Bay, 1968
Master of Arts, Education, San Francisco State University, 1983

Worked at St. Joseph's 1969-1979 (Taught Math)
Coached at St. Joseph's 1971-1978

Worked at Bishop O'Dowd High School (Taught Math) 1979-2003
Coached at O'Dowd 1979-1990, 1992 - 2003 

Retired : 2003

Date of Death : October 2, 2019 at his home in San Leandro


Recent stories

Sara Lillevand's Eulogy

Shared by Denise Noleroth on October 19, 2019
Good morning,..

 I am truly honored and humbled to speak today about a man who I came to interact with by an evolution of names that reflected my changing relationship with him...... Mr Phelps, Coach Phelps, Phelps, occasionally Phelpsie (but never to his face), Coach Mike, and ultimately just Mike.

Its hard not to talk about the wins. SO many wins. 

 As a player I took winning for granted. It was not until I began coaching that I understood just how much preparation and game time adjustment goes in to every single one. And the more you win, the more your opponents prepare for you and the more motivated they are to knock you off the top. Anyone can condition a team in to physical fitness and instruct basic skills but teaching and fostering the mental and emotional toughness in the context of a team first culture where everyone understands and values and feels valued in their role is rare and transcendent and why championships are so elusive for most.

The winning machine that Coach Phelps built was astounding.  His teams out-worked, out-hustled, outsmarted and out -executed everyone , every night  ,  every year. The system seemed to sustain itself and build upon itself with the master conductor pulling all the right levers at all the right moments.

I think Mike's teams were so solid and his sideline demeanor so focused, stern and controlled that he also seemed like a machine. But like all of us, we are much more than we appear.  SO I would like to focus my remarks on the humanity and vulnerability of Michael Edwin Phelps 

The first glimpse I caught of Mike's vulnerability was a the end of my junior  year at ODowd  - 1985 - when for the first time a handful of girls signed up for his summer camp. Well I have to say he freaked out a little bit… and asked me if I would work camp and I think he probably envisioned putting the girls all together in one group with me so he wouldnt have to deal with these foreign beings.  Well it didn't take long for the girls to be fully integrated in to camp and for me to take charge of most of the ballhandling and passing drills.  As it turned out, the girls were generally  better listeners and harder workers and were thirsty for knowledge in a way that is reserved for those who have been given opportunity previously denied. The girls did not ruin camp and in fact they made it richer. That handful of girls got a lot better that week under Coach Phelps, they made the boys better and I'd like to think that Coach Phelps stretched and grew a little bit too,  And while at that time I still far preferred playing to coaching, a pilot light was lit in me that week that still burns today... I love to coach and Phelps was and is my model

Fast forward 20 years and I had the profound opportunity to hire Coach Phelps at Cal State East Bay in Hayward to join the Pioneer Coaching staff. After 3 tortuous years without a team to coach, Phelps was ready to work. He brought with him his immense basketball brain and binders and notebooks and more binders and notebooks filled with his long tested systems and all the time in the world to share it with us.  He embraced his time at Cal State with his resolute focus and intensity and attention to detail and also with a deep appreciation of his thirst to be back in the gym quenched by the opportunity.

How does one integrate a legend into a coaching staff?  Well for us, we sat back and listened and learned a lot. The players weren't quite as attentive early on... frankly they didn't know or particularly care about all the wins; the 843reasons to pay attention!

 Coach Mike had to earn the respect of the Pioneers and he did but it wasn't easy. 

The most obvious Phelps influence on our program was the high post offense. We committed to it and at times the players hated it.  It was simple and elegant with an answer for every attempt to stop it BUT it required exact timing/precision entry passing/ and a level of reading defense that the Pioneers were not accustomed to. But when we got it, it was something to behold. 

I recall one conversation with Coach when I really needed his sage advice. I was frustrated with our big kids not catching the ball.  So I asked Coach, Can you teach someone to catch the ball?  If anyone had an answer it would be Coach Phelps. And he said very earnestly, YES I do know exactly how to teach them to catch the ball. 

Well I Was thrilled by this possibility that had eluded me for years. …The answer… you throw the ball as hard as you can right at their face and I promise you they will catch it.  And that was it… next question. 

To this day I am not sure if he was kidding or he was serious but I think he was serious and he he was seriously funny.

Mike's health was beginning to fail him during his time at Cal State and he was scared and he was frustrated. His mind was sharp but his body was not cooperating. He was fragile and he hated that. We only got to coach together for two years but I learned a lifetimes worth from Coach in that short time. And mostly, I gained a friend and a glimpse of the man beyond the coach. Mike was funny and mischievous in his own way. You really had to pay attention though as often the only cue to confirm his often subtle but laser sharp sense of humor was the little hint of a smirk on his face and a sparkle in his eyes.

OF many possibilities, Three of my favorite phelpsisms are these:

Make the easy pass 

Always guard the (fat kid)  kid with the knee brace.  

There is a reason you are that open 

Make the easy pass –  is self explanatory but so many fail to do so and really is the simple key to offensive success

Always guard the kid with the knee brace.  – common sense and observation defined Coach Phelps… if you don’t have a scouting report, it’s likely a slow kid on the floor is out there because he or she can shoot, so don’t let them shoot!

And perhaps my favorite…. There is a reason you are that open.  

There is a reason you are that open.  

Just left hanging in the air with a player complaining about not getting the ball when she was clearly open and wanting to shoot.  He didn’t explain it, left it there for her to figure out. He didn’t yell or demean. But he gave her an opportunity to reflect and see if she could connect the dots.

I wish I could have played for Coach Phelps but I am grateful that I got to know and love Mike… the strong yet fragile, invincible yet vulnerable, serious yet seriously funny human being who enjoyed so many victories but also suffered greatly. I pray for peaceful rest for Mike and an eternity of easy passes delivered in just the right way at just the right time.  Thank you

Thanks Coach Phelps

Shared by Mark Wainwright on October 16, 2019
I think the first time that I ever saw Mike coach a game was the 1982 NCS championship at Cal State, Hayward. Hayward High vs. BOD.In a game that was overloaded with talent such as Tony Jackson, Tony Ronzone, and Jack Del Rio, one could hardly keep his eyes off of the master that worked the sidelines. Like a great maestro Coach Phelps made move after move that eventually resulted in an O'Dowd OT victory. The game was played in a packed gymnasium and to this day it is still the best high school game that I have ever seen.
I eventually became a high school coach, largely because of that night. Our teams at Encinal competed against the O'Dowd teams in the 90's and Mike was always complimentary and even helpful when he could be. After Mike retired, I ran into him at a summer tournament when I was coaching the Dublin girls in 2009. I asked him about some particular basketball points and he said he'd be glad to help me any way he could. For the next few years, Mike came to some of our practices and summer camps. He came to many of our games. And he was kind enough to invite me to his home in San Leandro for some one on one classroom sessions. I was in awe and honored to have his friendship for these few years. He created binders designed to help the specific needs of our teams. And he even went out of his way to make sure he used the pronoun "she" or "her" to describe particular situations in his writings. Wow!!  The advice and materials he gave me were so insightful and so successful that I always felt that we had a big advantage over our competition that no one knew about.
Of course, anyone who ever went to Mike's house had to spend some time in his trophy and memorabilia room. It was basically a Bay Area high school basketball museum. A true place of honor. I would soak in all the history that defined this man. And Mike was so cool; he would go in the other room for a while and allow me to peruse to my heart's content.
Coach, I just want to thank you for befriending me for those few years and lending your wisdom to our program. You were always complimentary to what I was trying to do and you were always respectful of my limited knowledge and you never tried to over impose your greatness. Your humility and kindness were always prominent.
Rest in peace my friend. The world will somehow have to move on without the greatest high school coach/teacher of all time.

My last story

Shared by Paul Phelps on October 16, 2019
We made it to the championship game of the Babe Ruth district championship which was composed of all star teams from all of the different leagues throughout the East Bay.Mike was the coach of Oakland American because our team,had won the league.He had to choose the all star team from all the teams in our league.He chose me to be on that team and I remember people questioning why I was on it.Let’s just say that guys can be a little insensitive, especially at that age,and I was not the most popular guy on the team to say the least. So we make it to the championship and we are playing Hayward.They have to beat us twice to win the title and advance to the Northern California championships.They beat us in the first game and force the final do or die game.There were a lot of games played in that tournament and I had only pitched a couple meaningless innings.Out of nowhere,Mike decides that I am going to pitch the final game at Cal State Hayward.To this day I can see the guy who wanted to pitch throwing his glove off the fence in anger down the left field line.Note,this guy was a big basketball star at O’Dowd a year later.Needless to say it was a controversial decision and it was pretty tough.Nobody wanted me to pitch.I didn’t”t even want to pitch.The reason Mike chose me was not because of nepotism,but because Hayward was the best hitting team in the tournament and they were great fastball hitters.After just losing to them a half hour earlier,Mike determined that because I didn’t throw hard and had a really good slow curve,that I was the better choice.He did not care what anyone thought.
So we get to the 5th inning and we are ahead 2 to 1,Hayward has the bases loaded,2 outs and the best hitter in the entire tournament at the plate.We get to a count of 3 and 2 and I look at Mike in the dugout and we both know what has to happen.If I throw the guy a fastball he is going to hit it really hard somewhere and if I walk him the game is tied.I have to throw a big slow curve.I do and he is so surprised he doesn’t even swing and the ump calls strike 3.We win the game I believe 5 to 1 and Mike’s gutsy decision proves to be the right one,as usual.Nobody else believed in me, but Mike did