American Football Wiki
Bum Phillips
Personal Information
Coach, General Manager, Player
Born (1923-09-29)September 29, 1923
Orange, Texas
Died October 18, 2013(2013-10-18) (aged 90)
Goliad, Texas
Career information
Year(s) 1975 (NFL, with Oilers), 1958 (College career)1985
College Lamar & Stephen F. Austin
Professional teams
Jacksonville HS,1957
Texas A&M, (Assist.),1958
Amarillo HS, 1959–1961
Texas Western, 1962
Houston, 1965–1966 (DC), 1967–1970
NFL San Diego Chargers (DC)1970-72,
Oklahoma State, 1973(Assist.)
Houston Oilers (DC), 1973-74
Houston Oilers, 1975–1980
New Orleans Saints, 1981–1985
Career stats
Career highlights and awards

  • 86–80–0 record (NFL)
    4–5–0 record (College)

Oail Andrew "Bum" Phillips (September 29, 1923 – October 18, 2013) was an American football coach and the father of Wade Phillips, the Defensive Coordinator for the Houston Texans. "Bum" Phillips coached at the high school, college and professional levels.

Early Football Career

Phillips played football at Lamar College (now Lamar University) in Beaumont, Texas, but enlisted in the United States Marine Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He became one of the elite Marine Raiders.

After he returned from the war, Phillips completed the remaining year on his degree at Lamar, and enrolled at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, lettering in football in 1948 and 1949 and graduating with a degree in Education in 1949.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Phillips coached high school football in various Texas cities including Jacksonville, Amarillo, Port Neches-Groves, and in his hometown of Nederland.

His college coaching stints included serving as an assistant coach at Texas A&M University (for Bear Bryant), the University of Houston (for Bill Yeoman), Southern Methodist University (for Hayden Fry), and Oklahoma State University. He was the head coach at the University of Texas at El Paso for one season in 1962.

NFL Coach

In the early 1970s, Phillips joined the NFL when he was hired by Sid Gillman to serve as a defensive assistant coach for the San Diego Chargers. A few years later, Gillman became head coach of the Houston Oilers, and he brought Phillips with him as his defensive coordinator.

In 1975, Phillips was named head coach and general manager of the Oilers, and served in that capacity through 1980. As coach of the Oilers, he became the winningest coach in franchise history (59-38 record). He was known for his trademark cowboy hat on the sidelines, except when the Oilers played in the Astrodome or other domed stadiums. (He stated that his mother taught him not to wear a hat indoors; his former boss Bear Bryant similarly refused to wear his trademark fedora during indoor games.)[1] Under Phillips the Oilers reached the AFC Championship Game in two consecutive seasons, losing to the Super Bowl-champion Steelers 34-5 in 1978 and 27-13 in 1979. Both teams were members of the competitive AFC Central Division, and thus played three times in both 1978 and 1979, fueling an intense rivalry. During this period of league-wide AFC dominance, some commentators considered Houston and Pittsburgh to be the two best teams in the NFL. Phillips remarked at the time, "The road to the Super Bowl goes through Pittsburgh."

From 1981 through the first 12 games of the 1985 season, he was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints, and like in his coaching tenure with the Oilers, Phillips took off his trademark Stetson inside the Louisiana Superdome. In 1983 his Saints almost had the first winning season and playoff berth in franchise history. The Rams beat the Saints for the final playoff spot in week 16, 26-24 on Mike Lansford's 42-yard field goal with 00:02 to play.

Phillips resigned as Saints coach on November 25, 1985, one day after a 30-24 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Post football career

He later worked as a football color analyst for television and radio. Phillips has since retired to his horse ranch in Goliad, Texas.

Bum has endorsed his own brand of sausage and also has served as the spokesman for Spectrum Scoreboards. Bum was also a spokesman for Texas State Optical (TSO), a regional chain of prescription eyewear retailers, during part of the '90s.

His son, Wade Phillips, has also held assistant and head coaching jobs in the NFL and was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from February 2007 to November 2010. He was hired by the Houston Texans on January 5, 2011 as their new defensive coordinator almost 30 years after his father was terminated by Bud Adams on December 28, 1980, after the Oilers failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs.

In 2010, he published his memoirs, "Bum Phillips: Coach, Cowboy, Christian."

Phillips died at his ranch in Goliad, Texas, on October 18, 2013, at the age of 90.


  • "There's two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired."[2]
  • "I always thought I could coach. I just thought people were poor judges of good coaches."[3]
  • "I've never seen a hammer and tong game like that one."
  • "Mama always said that if it can't rain on you, you're indoors." (Explaining why he wouldn't wear his cowboy hat in a domed stadium)
  • "Dallas Cowboys may be America's team, but the Houston Oilers are Texas' team."
  • "I never scrimmage Oilers against Oilers...what for? Houston isn't on our schedule." (Source: The Book of Sports Lists)
  • (To an official) "Hey, can I, can I tell you one thing? That's three holding penalties on one football team in a quarter and a half. (Pauses) That ain't funny."
  • (To an official) "Now, you can't do that! If you do it, I'm telling you you'll have more hell over it than a little bit."
  • (referring to Alabama head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, with whom Phillips worked as an assistant coach at Texas A&M) "He can take his'n and beat your'n and take your'n and beat his'n."
  • (referring to Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon) "That boy could throw a football through a car wash and not get it wet."
  • (when asked about Oilers RB Earl Campbell's inability to finish a 1 mile run in training camp) "When it's first and a mile, I won't give it to him."
  • (when asked by Bob Costas why he took his wife on all of the Oilers' road trips) "Because she's too ugly to kiss goodbye."
  • "Last year we knocked on the door. This year we beat on it. Next year we're going to kick the son of a bitch in."[4]
  • of Earl Campbell, "I don't know if he's in a class by himself, but whatever class he's in, it don't take long to call the roll."[5]


  1. Loser Takes All: Bud Adams, Bad Football, & Big Business,Fowler, Ed (1997). pp. 48–49. Longstreet Press. ISBN 1563524325.
  2. Loser Takes All: Bud Adams, Bad Football, & Big Business,Fowler, Ed (1997). . Longstreet Press. ISBN 1563524325.
  3. Loser Takes All: Bud Adams, Bad Football, & Big Business,Fowler, Ed (1997). . Longstreet Press. ISBN 1563524325.
  4. title=Now He's Really Got The Horses: The Oilers are gone and Bum Phillips, Texas rancher, doesn't miss them, Jeff Pearlman, Sports Illustrated volume 87, issue 14, October 6, 1997.
  5. Jonathan Quick – Latest News, accesse March 4, 2012, CBS

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