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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Goodbye to man who knew how to lead

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Oct. 24, 2013 at 5:24 a.m.


Texans love their football. Fans are loyal to their teams to a fault, and they cherish the players and coaches who lead their favorite teams to victory.

Last Friday, Texas lost one of those cherished coaches. Bum Phillips, the former NFL coach who led the Houston Oilers from 1975 to 1980 and then the New Orleans Saints from 1981 to his retirement in 1985, died at his Goliad ranch home.

We are sad to see such an iconic, well-loved leader go. Phillips was not only a beloved sports icon, but he was also an important and contributing member of the Crossroads community.

During our reporting, our reporters encountered many people who loved, admired and cared about Phillips. He was a man who wore boots, jeans and a Stetson while other coaches wore suits and ties. He donated land from his personal ranch to create the Bum Phillips Retreat, a place to host activities year-round. According to the Bum Phillips Charities website, many of the activities and events are for those who are deaf and hearing-impaired. Every summer, the retreat hosts Camp Heart Sign, a summer camp for deaf children. The retreat also hosts many deaf church services and retreats for deaf adults as well as conferences to teach and learn American Sign Language (ASL) and provide ASL interpreter training. Bum Phillips Charities also works with Mike Barber Ministries to offer prison outreach and Coaches Outreach, which focuses on working with coaches to build character.

Phillips was a caring individual who not only coached the Houston Oilers during a successful period but who also knew the value of reaching out and helping those less fortunate. Even after his death, that wish lives on. The Bum Phillips Charities website features a request for fans to honor his memory with a donation to the charity to help complete the retreat center. The website encourages donors to give $90 to honor Phillips' 90 years of life.

For those who wish to honor Phillips in person, there will be at least two memorial services available. On Saturday at 1:30 p.m., a service will be at Goliad High School. Another service will be at Lakewood Baptist Church in Houston at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Parking will open at 6:30, and the doors will open at 6:45 p.m., according to the Bum Phillips Charities website.

We are sad to see Phillips go. He has left a wonderful legacy behind him in both football and his charity work. Thank you for everything you have done, Bum Phillips. We will miss you, but we hope your work and memory live on for many generations to come.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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