“Football is a game of failure. You fail all the time, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.”

- Bum Phillips




Wade Phillips' father, Bum Phillips, one of the most colorful NFL characters of all-time, has lived an equally compelling life.

Sept. 29, 1923: Bum is born Oail Andrew Phillips. Later, he receives his famous nickname from a stuttering sister who couldn't pronounce Oail (said O-L).

September 1937: Receives a whipping three nights in a row from his father, who discourages the high school freshman from playing football. A broken leg keeps a teen from working on the ranch, his father reasoned.

Sept. 29, 1941: Enlists in the U.S. Marines on his birthday. Serves in the South Pacific during World War II.

1950: Lands his first coaching job as an assistant at Nederland High School.

1957: Recruited by the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant as an assistant coach at Texas A&M.

1967: After coaching stints all across Texas, is hired by Sid Gillman to serve as defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers.

1975: Becomes head coach of the Houston Oilers. Quickly leads ailing team to consecutive AFC Championship games.

1985: After five seasons as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, retires from professional football.

“Football is a game of failure,” Phillips said. “You fail all the time, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.” That willingness to shoulder responsibility made Bum a fan and player favorite wherever he went. He was an instant hit when he took over as head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 1980. He transformed the Saint’s NFL-worst defense into a unit that finished among the top-five defenses in the league over the next five years.

Having rebuilt the Saints franchise through innovative scouting techniques and astute drafting, Bum retired from coaching in 1985 and returned to his first love, ranching. His son, Wade, who is the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and Wade’s son Wesley, who is the offensive quality control coach for the Cowboys, carry on Bum’s coaching legacy.

Although Bum has retired from football, he hasn’t quit working. He and his wife Debbie operate a 250-acre horse and cattle ranch in Goliad County, Texas where they live since 1995. He does advertising and motivational speaking and works in literally hundreds of charity events with his main focus being the Mike Barber Ministries and Coaches Outreach ministries.

In addition to the prison ministry and other charitable work, the Phillipses vow to better help connect deaf children with their parents, who often struggle with American Sign Language.

The Phillipses' Goliad daughter and son-in-law, Kimann and Mark England, founded Heart Sign, which provides classes, workshops, retreats and camps for anyone who wishes to learn sign language. Phillips agreed to donate a chunk of his land for use as the foundation of a future charity headquarters and camp.

Bum's children and their families are a source of great pride and joy as they love the Lord and walk in His way. They all have great families that include 23 grandchildren and two great- grandchildren. Wade is the firstborn and daughters are Susan Phillips, Cicely DeVore, DeeJean Hurta, Andrea McCarthy, and Kimann England.



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