Bum Phillips, the folksy Texas football icon who coached the
"Bum is gone to Heaven," his son Wade Phillips, the
Born Oail Andrew Phillips Jr. in Orange, Texas, on Sept. 29, 1923, he was a Lone Star original in his blue jeans, cowboy boots and trademark white Stetson — except at the Astrodome or any other domed stadium because he was taught it was disrespectful to wear a hat indoors.
He took over as coach of the Oilers in 1975 and led Houston to two
Houston lost to Pittsburgh, 34-5, in the AFC championship game after Campbell's rookie season, 1978. The Oilers returned to the game the next season only to be beaten again by the
The Oilers went 11-5 in 1980 but lost to Oakland in the AFC wild-card round and Phillips was fired.
He left to coach the Saints in 1981. He didn't have a winning record in his time there and retired in 1985.
Phillips played football at Lamar Junior College before joining the Marines during World War II. After the war, he went to Stephen F. Austin, where he played two more football seasons before graduating with a degree in education in 1949.
He spent about two decades coaching in high schools and colleges, mostly in Texas — he assisted the likes of Bear Bryant at Texas A&M — before making the jump to the AFL in 1967 as an assistant under Sid Gillman with the
Phillips picked up the nickname Bum as a child when his younger sister couldn't pronounce "brother" correctly. He embraced the nickname and was quoted as saying: "I don't mind being called Bum, just as long as you don't put a 'you' in front of it."
Phillips is survived by his second wife, Debbie, six children from his first marriage, and almost two dozen grandchildren.