January 23, 2019
Coach O.A. "Bum" Phillips was born September 29, 1923 in Orange, Texas, attended high school in Beaumont and played football at Lamar Junior College (now Lamar University). He enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II.
After returning from 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. Bum got his nickname when his little sister's attempts to say "brother" came out "bumble" and later "bum." Bum's coaching career began on the high school level. He had positions at Nederland, Port Neches, Amarillo and Jacksonville. While at Nederland, Phillips took the Bulldogs to the state playoffs in 1955.
His college coaching stints included working as an assistant coach at Texas A&M University under Paul "Bear" Bryant, the University of Houston with Bill Yeoman, Southern Methodist under Hayden Fry, the University of Texas-El Paso and Oklahoma State University. Phillips then moved on to the National Football League, working as an assistant defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers under Coach Sid Gillman. When Gillman was named head coach of the Houston Oilers, he took Bum with him as defensive coordinator. The team had just suffered through consecutive 1-13 seasons, but Bum created a defense that turned the team around. They finished the first season 7-7, garnering more victories than the previous three Oiler teams combined.
In 1975, Bum was named head coach and general manger of the Oilers. The team went 10-4, defeating every team on their schedule except Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Phillips served as the Oilers' head coach through 1980 and was the winningest coach in franchise history with a 53-35 record. He became head coach for the New Orleans Saints in 1981-1985 before retiring to his horse ranch in Goliad, Texas.
This information is courtesy of the Beaumont Enterprise.