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Bum Phillips
Replace this image male.svg
Date of birth September 29, 1923 (1923-09-29) (age 86)
Place of birth Nederland, Texas
Position(s) Coach
College Lamar & Stephen F. Austin
Career record 86-80-0 (NFL)
4-5-0 (College)
Coaching stats Pro Football Reference
Coaching stats DatabaseFootball
Team(s) as a coach/administrator
Jacksonville HS
Texas A&M (Assist.)
Amarillo HS
Texas Western
Houston (DC)
San Diego Chargers (DC)
Oklahoma State (Assist.)
Houston Oilers (DC)
Houston Oilers
New Orleans Saints
Oail Andrew Phillips
Born September 23, 1923(1923-09-23)
Place of birth Nederland, Texas
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1941-1945

Oail Andrew “Bum” Phillips (born on September 29, 1923 in Nederland, Texas) is a former American football coach. He coached at the high school, college and pro level.

He played football at Lamar Junior College (now Lamar University) in Beaumont, Texas, but enlisted in the United States Marine Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II.

After he returned from the war, Phillips 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, the University of Houston (for Bill Yeoman), Southern Methodist University (for Hayden Fry), the University of Texas at El Paso, and Oklahoma State University.

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 folksy mannerisms, and for wearing 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.)[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 a monumental rivalry. During this period of league-wide AFC dominance, some commentators actually considered Houston and Pittsburgh to be the two best teams in the entire NFL. As 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 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.

Bum resigned as Saints coach on November 25, 1985, one day after a 30-24 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. It was also the first NFL start for quarterback Bobby Hebert, a Louisiana native who later led New Orleans to playoff appearances in 1987, 1991 and 1992.

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.

His son, Wade Phillips, has also held assistant and head coaching jobs in the NFL and is currently the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.


  • "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 Don Shula) "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 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"

See also


  1. ^ Fowler, Ed (1997). Loser Takes All: Bud Adams, Bad Football, & Big Business. Longstreet Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 1563524325. 
  2. ^ Fowler, Ed (1997). Loser Takes All: Bud Adams, Bad Football, & Big Business. Longstreet Press. p. 57. ISBN 1563524325. 
  3. ^ Fowler, Ed (1997). Loser Takes All: Bud Adams, Bad Football, & Big Business. Longstreet Press. p. 45. ISBN 1563524325. 
Preceded by
Sid Gillman
Houston Oilers Head Coach
Succeeded by
Ed Biles
Preceded by
Dick Nolan
New Orleans Saints Head Coach
Succeeded by
Wade Phillips
Preceded by
Steve Rosenbloom
New Orleans Saints General Manager
Succeeded by
Jim Finks

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