October 19, 2013

Former Oilers coach Bum Phillips dies at 90

Bum Phillips coached the Oilers from 1975 to 1980 and later coached the New Orleans Saints.

The Associated Press

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In this Jan. 6, 1980, file photo, Houston Oilers Coach Bum Phillips and running back Earl Campbell leave field after the Oilers’ loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship in Pittsburgh. Phillips, the folksy Texas football icon who coached the Oilers and New Orleans Saints, died Friday at age 90.

The Associated Press

Although he left Houston, he always remained fond of the city. The Oilers moved to Tennessee and became the Titans in 1997 and Houston returned to the NFL in 2002 when the Texans began play.

He was asked how he feels about the two teams in Texas in 2007 when son Wade was named coach of the Cowboys.

“Your son is coaching one team and the other team is the town you love more than any other,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to pull. They’re not on the schedule, so I don’t have to make that decision this year.”

Wade Phillips talked about his father a few days after his 90th birthday this year. Houston led the Seahawks 20-3 at halftime on his birthday on Sept. 29, only to lose 23-20 in overtime. Wade Phillips told his dad that the first half of the game was his birthday present.

“He’s real positive when you lose and gets on me when we win, saying, ‘You better play better than that or you might not win the next one,”’ Wade Phillips said.

He said his father was still sharing tips with him this season.

“He always gives me a little advice about why did you play this on that certain down and this stuff,” Wade said. “He’s sharp on all the football stuff.”

Phillips is survived by his second wife, Debbie, and six children from his first marriage along with almost two dozen grandchildren.

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