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TE T X reasur
Remembering Bum Phillips
By Janet Batchelor
Back in 2010, my husband/hero Tom received an email from the wife
of the high school coach who was a big influence in his life back in the
50s. Debbie Phillips knew that Tom would want to know about Coach's
upcoming book signing for Coach, Cowboy, Christian. Coach Phillips was
highly admired and respected by Tom, who credits him with instilling
values and standards in the young men on that Nederland High School
team that are still with them, to this day, over fifty years later.
He trained, inspired and motivated those young men (boys, really)
so much that, even after their beloved coach left Nederland High for
the opportunity to coach under "Bear" Bryant at Texas A&M, they won
state the very next year. It was Tom's senior year. If you grew up in
the Lone Star State, or have been in Texas for any length of time, you
know how very important that Friday night feat is to a team and a
town. It hasn't been accomplished in Nederland, Texas since.
Coach was a WWII U.S. Marine Raider and as tough as a boot. I
know many of the men who were on his football team, and let me tell
you—they would have willingly marched into a real battle for their
40 Postcards Magazine: Montgomery County Edition | February–March 2014
Photos Courtesy of bumphillipscharities.com
coach. They loved and respected him that much. You may better
recognize Coach O. A. Phillips by the nickname "Bum".
The first book about Bum Phillips was entitled He Ain't No Bum. He
signed Tom's copy, "I ain't so sure". I'm sure. Bum Phillips was a hard
working, God fearing, family loving man, with a sharp, dry sense of
humor. He was the antithesis of the common definition of a bum.
I'd like to tell you about the day I had the pleasure of spending at the
ranch of Bum and Debbie Phillips.
Tom is a pilot, so Bum and Debbie picked us up at a small airport near
Goliad. I was a bit nervous about meeting someone so well known and
recognizable. I won't call him famous, because he probably wouldn't
like that handle. He was as down to earth as they come. Coach and
Debbie made me feel welcome with their warmth and hospitality, and
they were obviously very fond of Tom. What's not to love? I liked