Blogs » Your Advocate: an editor's blog » What life lessons can we learn from Bum Phillips?


I didn't grow up a Houston Oilers fan, but I became one Tuesday night in the Welder Center.

After watching the NFL documentary on "Love Ya Blue" and then listening to legendary Coach Bum Phillips talk, I was sold. When I first met Bum before the event, shook his hand and told him he was the star of the night, he quickly responded, "I think they're all here just to see if it's true I'm really still alive."

His disarming wit and charm shined all evening. I had to pinch myself that I had the honor of introducing him on stage and relaying audience questions. In my line of work, I've had the privilege of meeting quite a few famous people, so I'm not that easily star-struck. For the most part, they're just regular people like you and me, and sometimes they're not that pleasant.

What knocked me over was how much Bum emphasized that he's just a regular guy. Moreover, that's what he really wants to be, he told the crowd.

In the film, I learned how much he values honesty, humor and friendship. He was criticized as a coach for being too close to his players, even though he took a losing team and turned it into a Super Bowl contender. He said plainly and eloquently that the first thing he should offer to his players was friendship.

What a great lesson for any manager in any business or organization. Sure, coaches and bosses have to make tough decisions sometimes and kick some butt now and again. Ultimately, though, Bum knows success rests on getting the best out of your players or workers.

Bum showed you get the best by caring about others. Thanks, coach, for a magical evening.