Monday, October 21, 2013

A Texas Hero Lost - A Notorious Houstonian Dead

Texas lost a hero Friday night. We knew it was coming, but knowing it is coming doesn't lessen the shock of realizing such a man is gone forever.

He wasn't a politician, never dreamed of being one; but what a different world it would be if all politicians had his outlook on life, his simple concept of what it is to be a man, what is right and what is wrong. What would the United States of America look like today if it had such a natural born leader as this man was? In a country where true leadership is virtually unknown to a whole generation of Americans, this hero could teach many valuable lessons to our politicians if only there was someone willing to learn.

He died Friday night surrounded by family and former Oiler's tight end, Mike Barber, without accomplishing a couple of his fondest dreams; but no one who knew him would ever think of calling him a failure because he never gave up and he never quit. And those who knew him best know if he had achieved his fondest dreams he would have reacted by simply dreaming bigger dreams. He was just that type of man.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans knew his name; but he wasn't impressed with his own
President George H. W. Bush and Bum

celebrity because celebrity was never one of his goals. Instead, his basic goal was to mold young men into talented men of courage, determination and character. 

He never thought of himself as anything other than a simple man. As a simple man, he tried to be the best father, Texan, rancher and coach he could be. As a man who desired to be each of those things full time, he spent his life regretting it was not possible. He had to make difficult decisions about priorities that troubled him. But those he fathered never felt cheated because he had to spend so much time away. Texans loved him and never turned their backs on him. He died a happy man on his small, by Texas standards, 400 acre ranch. It was the place where he wanted to die and be buried. Coach? It  was something he loved and it consumed about half of his adult live. But to him, coach was not just a title attached to any ball coach. To him coaching was much more than winning games. It was about molding the character of  young men, teaching them to plow through adversity as well as teaching them to be humble in victory and resolute in defeat. Above all he was determined to teach them how to exhibit these things on the ball field as well as in their personal lives. Mike Barber was an example of Coach's success. After Leaving the NFL he became a minister. In the last few months, he visited coach several times in that capacity.
Bum, overwhelmed by 70,000 fans who showed up to show their support after the Oiler' playoff loss to the Steelers on January 6, 1980.

It has been said he was the Will Rogers of the NFL; and indeed, though it is a title he would have rejected, it fit him well to those who knew him. Like Rogers, some of his off the cuff comments have never been forgotten:
"If I could be remembered for one thing, that would be for being myself. You may not always be right, but you do what you think is right. If you're wrong, have the ability to admit it. Both are damned important."
"How do you win? By getting average players to play good and good players to play great." 
"Don Shula? Now there's a good football coach. He can take his'n and beat your'n, or he can take your'n and beat his'n." 
"There's only two types of coaches; them that's been fired and them that's gonna be fired."
 "I always thought I could coach. I just thought people were poor judges of coaches." 
of Earl Campbell, "I don't know if he's in a class by himself, but I do know that when that class gets together, it sure don't take long to call the roll."
(when asked about Oilers RB Earl Campbell's inability to finish a one-mile run in training camp) "When it's first and a mile, I won't give it to him." 
(referring to Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon) "That boy could throw a football through a car wash and not get it wet." 
"There are people, maybe two or three, that ain't gonna like you. Not everbody likes everbody. My grandpa used to say, 'Just nod and grin.' "
"You can lead me a lot further than you can drive me. …You can't win today by embarrassing your football players. If I played for a guy who shouted at me, I'd sock him. …If you gripe at everbody, you accomplish nothin. To motivate somebody, you have to explain why something needs to be done before you can ask somebody to do it. Tell me why and I'll do just about everthing."
"The Dallas Cowboys may be Americas team, but the Houston Oilers are Texas' team.
(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."

I was privileged, a few months ago, to be in Reliant Stadium in Houston when Bum made what was to be his last visit to a Texans game. At half time he and Earl Campbell and other ex Oilers were honored for their contributions to Houston's NFL teams. There were thousands of young people in the stands who weren't even born when Bum was still coaching, but they still knew who Bum was and joined the throngs in rising to their feet and filling the stadium with extended cheers for Oail Andrew Phillips, the man who will always just be "Bum" to Texans.

I have no idea what Bum's views on homosexuality or bisexuality were. But to me, he seemed like a man who always judged others more on the quality of their character than anything else. More than likely, in his long career, Bum coached a homosexual young man, maybe two or theree. That it never became a public issue fits right in with the man we all came to know and respect.

Bum Phillips

(September 29, 1923 – October 18, 2013)

Rest In Peace, Bum

You Eared Your Place In Our Hearts

We'll miss you Bum! Thanks for your example. Thanks for the memories.

Jack Scott 

P.S.  A couple of the dreams Bum never achieved were winning a Super Bowl and opening a facility on his ranch for deaf youngsters. No one can help with the Superbowl win but everyone can help Bum achieve his goal to open the facility for deaf children.

The Phillips family invites donations to Bum's charities. Contributions can be made through:

or  to

Bum Phillips Charities
2189 South Riverdale Lane
Goliad, TX  77963


   The Most Hated Man in Houston Dies

Life often take strange twists and turns and so it did with  the death yesterday of Bud Adams. It was strange that Bum and Bud who were close friends who parted ways over business  and owner/coach issues and finally decided to let bygones be bygones years later were again separated by death and then joined in death 3 days later.

For Bum it showed what a great guy he was to let bygones be bygones and to forgive Adams for doing the unthinkable. Texans and especially Houstonians never did forgive Bud although after moving the Oilers to Tennessee he continued to live in his Houston River Oaks mansion, where he was found dead on Sunday, and conduct much of his business in Houston. As he was worth an estimated 1.3 billion dollars at his death, he contributed greatly to the Houston economy and the welfare of Houston.

In all fairness, Adams along with Lamar Hunt, another Texas billionaire, must be given credit for creating the AFL. Without the AFL coming into being, there never would have been a professional football team in Houston, at least for several more decades.

Some Texans fans and former Oilers fans don't know that. Some do and don't give a damn. They still have never forgiven Adams for taking the Oilers to Tennessee and never will. Even in death, some are not willing to forgive. He is seen by many Texans as a deserter and a man who got too greedy when he was already worth millions.

He bought the Oilers franchise for $25,000.00 in or about 1960. At the time of his death, the Titans franchise was worth in or around $1,000,000,000. 

Suffice it to say Adams, dead at 90 years of age, the same as Bum, lived a long and productive life and he shared much of that productivity with the City of Houston and its citizens. Maybe he won't ever be forgiven by Houstonians, but then too, he'll never be forgotten.

Rest in peace Bud. I can't say many Houstonians will miss you. But thanks for what you did for Houston before and after snatching the Oilers out of state in the dark of night.

Kenneth Stanley "Bud" Adams, Jr. 

(January 3, 1923 – October 21, 2013)

Founder of the Houston Oilers - now the Tennessee Titans

Jack Scott



  1. Jack an excellent obituarary on Bum. Also sorry to read about Bud Adams passing away today.

  2. Thanks Cary. I appreciate the compliment.

    Jack Scott

  3. Jack, I stopped by to read some of your posts today as it had been a while. I find within myself people like Bum Phillips, Jim Leland and other "greats" to represent an ideal of character and integrity. We each have struggles, flaws, maybe demons that are known clearly to each of us and maybe a select few beyond us.
    -Finding one's place between "greatness" and the "struggle" seems to be much of what life entails. The struggle was quite pronounced for me recently and expressed itself during sleep hours, leaving me with the realization I think I want m2m closeness but not find it via adult sites and or blogs considerably more "out there" than yours.
    -My rules for living are simple, and your tribute to the coach clearly outlines the ideal while life experience portrays the "rest of the story". Thanks Jack and I wish your readership warm regards also!


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott