Bum Phillips, the former NFL head coach who died on Friday, is being remembered today by the teams he coached and by a city where he was a beloved figure.
Phillips coached the Houston Oilers from 1975 to 1980, and Bud Adams, the owner who moved the Oilers to Tennessee and changed their name to the Titans, released a statement today memorializing Phillips.
“We are very sad to hear of the passing of Bum Phillips,” Adams said. “He meant a great deal to this franchise, the NFL and the city of Houston, and he was instrumental to the Oilers during the ‘Luv Ya Blue’ era. Growing up in Texas and working his way up through the Texas football ranks, he was a natural match for our team. Those were such magical years, and his leadership and personality helped our team rise to the top. He became an iconic figure on our sideline. Our thoughts are with his family, and we know he will be missed.”
Saints owner Tom Benson described Phillips as a great coach and a friend.
“We are saddened by the passing of Bum Phillips,” Benson said. “I had the opportunity to work with him when I first purchased the team in 1985 and also enjoyed our friendship following his coaching career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Debbie, Wade and the rest of his family.”
Although Phillips was out of coaching before the Houston Texans expansion franchise came into existence, he may be most fondly remembered in Houston, where his son Wade is now the Texans’ defensive coordinator.
“This was a great man,” a story on the Texans’ website says. “A Marine, a football coach, a father. There will never be another like him. The standard he set in Houston sports history goes far beyond success on the field. Bum Phillips will forever be celebrated as a hard working, caring, successful American. He will forever be remembered as a true Texan.”
Phillips, whose coaching career spanned more than 30 years in high school, college and the NFL, will be remembered as a fine man and a fine coach.