October 19, 2013 / 6:13 AM / 5 years ago

Former NFL head coach Bum Phillips dies

Dallas Cowboys' new head coach Wade Phillips (R) talks to his father, former head coach of the Houston Oilers, Bum Phillips on the opening day of the Dallas Cowboys NFL training camp in San Antonio, TX., Wednesday, July 25, 2007 REUTERS/Joe Mitchell

(Reuters) - Bum Phillips, the colorful head coach of the National Football League’s Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints in the 1970s and 1980s, died on Friday, his son said. He was 90.

Phillips took over a losing football team in 1975 and turned it around, pushing Houston to appearances in conference championship playoff games twice, but losing both times to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After he was fired by Houston in 1980, Phillips was hired to coach the New Orleans Saints. He led that team from 1981 to 1985, but never left his permanent home in Texas.

“Bum is gone to Heaven - loved and will be missed by all -great Dad, Coach, and Christian,” son Wade Phillips tweeted on Friday night. “Thank you all for your kindness and support for my family at this time.”

His family asked that instead of flowers people consider a donation to Bum Phillips Charities, an organization he formed in 2010 with his wife Debbie at their home in Goliad, Texas.

Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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