Another one of our iconic personalities in H-town passed away yesterday at age 90 in the person of beloved iconic Houston Oilers football coach O.A. 'Bum' Phillips
The father of Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took over a downtrodden Houston Oilers squad in 1975 and led them to two consecutive AFC championship game appearances against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978-79.
Phillips loved the Oilers and once said of that NFL franchise up I-45, "They may be 'America's Team,' but we're Texas' team." I will gleefully add the Oilers during his 55-35 tenure (4-3 in the playoffs) for six years to beat the hated Dallas Cowchips 30-24 during his tenure on Thanksgiving Day 1979 on a day in which Earl Campbell ran around, over and through the Cowboys defense for 199 yards.
He was born in Orange, TX and after a stint as a Marine during World War II and graduating from Stephen F. Austin in 1949, Phillips spent two decades coaching at the Texas high school level and as an assistant coach for Bear Bryant at Texas A&M, Bill Yeoman at the University of Houston, and Hayden Fry at SMU before making the jump to the professional ranks in 1967 as an assistant under Sid Gillman with the AFL's San Diego Chargers. Phillips came to the Oilers in 1974 as Gillman's defensive coordinator and became the coach and general manager of the team when Gillman resigned after that season.
Phillips was also one of the coaches credited with introducing the 3-4 defense to the NFL professional ranks that Wade coaches to this day.
His folksy ways, wit and coaching wardrobe of cowboy boots and cowboy hat while patrolling the NFL sidelines (except he didn't wear the hat inside domed stadiums) as the Oilers coach and engineering the trade with Tampa Bay to get Earl Campbell in a Columbia blue uniform made him a beloved figure inside Loop 610 during the Luv Ya Blue years.
He also has another connection with the Texans in head coach Gary Kubiak being a ballboy for the Oilers.
Bud Adams firing him during the New Year's Eve Massacre in 1980 after a 27-7 wild card round playoff loss to the Raiders was a large part of the reason besides moving the team to Nashville in 1997 for the intense dislike H-town has for 'Bottom Line Bud'.
Phillips spent a few years down I-10 east coaching the New Orleans Saints from 1981-1985 before he quit.to do a little radio and television broadcast commentary before retiring to his ranch in Goliad, TX where he passed away.
The legendary coach will be missed here, but for those back in the day Oiler fans like myself who got to meet him and also see him patrolling the Astrodome sidelines during the Love Ya Blue days, we'll never forget him.
Luv ya always Bum and thanks for everything you did to make being an Oiler fan during your Luv Ya Blue tenure something to be proud of and not to be embarrassed about.
I also don't think Bum will have to beat on or kick down the Pearly Gates to get in