‘Every man get a man, every good man get two’
The familiar call of former Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips echoed around Lakewood Church on Tuesday night as his players, the Luv ya Blue Oilers, paid tribute to their coach at a memorial service in his honor.
They remembered his hat, his smile, his humor. But most of all they remembered the love he had for everyone he met.
Phillips died earlier this month at the age of 90 at his ranch in Goliad and friends, family and fans gathered in what was described as a Celebration of the Life of Bum Phillips.
Standing below a 25-foot tall Oilers logo covered in red and white flowers, his players came to the pulpit one by one to talk about their affection for Phillips.
Center Carl Mauck brought a pair of Columbia blue boots Phillips gave to him and set them on the pulpit as he told stories, weaving lyrics of the ‘Oiler Cannonball’ song he recorded back in the 1970s to the stories. When he was done he gave the boots back to the Phillips family, handing them to Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Dan Pastorini thanked the Phillips family for “sharing their father with them.”
All the players gave credit to Phillips for creating the love affair between the Oilers and Houston while he was the head coach from 1975 through 1980. The team reached the AFC Championship Game twice, falling both times to the Steel Curtain Pittsburgh Steelers.
Former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw gave a video tribute to Bum from the Fox NFL studio in Los Angeles, California, saying Phillips was a coach he would have wanted to play for.
Mike Barber, who played tight end for the Oilers during the Luv ya Blue years, introduced Phillips to prison ministry and much of the ceremony was dedicated to talking about Phillips’ work with prisoners at ‘The Farm’ prison in Angola, Louisiana. He worked with the prison football team before eventually sharing his testimony with them after he became a Christian at the age of 79.
“He didn’t try to impress anybody,” Barber said of his friend and coach. “He was Bum.”