Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local Sports

October 19, 2013

Former NFL coach who began career at Jacksonville High dies at age 90

HOUSTON —

 Bum Phillips, the folksy Texas football icon who coached the Houston Oilers during their Luv Ya Blue heyday and also led the New Orleans Saints, died Friday. He was 90.

''Bum is gone to Heaven,'' son Wade Phillips tweeted Friday night. ''Loved and will be missed by all - great Dad, Coach, and Christian.''

Phillips died at his ranch in Goliad.

Wade Phillips is the Houston Texans' defensive coordinator.

Born Oail Andrew Phillips Jr. in 1923 in Orange, Phillips was a Texas original in his blue jeans, boots and trademark white Stetson - except at the Astrodome or any other dome stadium because he was taught it was disrespectful to wear a hat indoors.

''Mama always said that if it can't rain on you, you're indoors,'' Phillips said.

Phillips loved the Oilers and when coaching the team in the 1970s, he famously said of the Cowboys: ''They may be 'America's Team,' but we're Texas' team.''

He took over as coach of the Oilers in 1975 and led Houston to two AFC Championship games before he was fired in 1980. He was responsible for drafting Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell, the player who was largely credited with the success of the franchise.

It was a time marked by a frenzied fan base that filled the Astrodome to root for the Oilers and wave their blue and white pompons during games.

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