Flashback Friday: Bum Phillips Bowl

the bum phillips bowl
gamestrat high school football sideline instant replay

There’s many different ways I come up with my Flashback Friday features, but today’s is fun, because I hope it turns into more than just this story.

Thursday night, I saw a tweet on Twitter from longtime NFL coach Wade Phillips talking about meeting the high school football coaches at Odessa and Permian in west Texas.

That got me all fired-up to invite Coach Phillips onto the High School Football America Podcast to talk some high school football. There’s plenty we can talk about, since his dad, the late Bum Phillips, coached Texas high school football in the 50’s and 60’s before moving-on to the college and NFL ranks.

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When Coach Wade Phillips, who has coach for more than four decades in the NFL, “liked” my tweet, I began doing my research for a possible interview. Hence, that’s where the idea for this week’s Flashback Friday originates.

My research landed me smack dab in the middle of “Mid-County Madness” in southeast Texas, home of the high school football rivalry between Nederland and Port Neches-Groves High Schools. Since 2014, the year after Bum passed, the high school football rivalry has been known as The Bum Phillips Bowl.

The rivalry was named after the late coach because it was his favorite game to coach, since he was a head coach at both schools. The series began in 1925 and heading into the 2020 season, PNG owns a two-game win streak and a 51-38-7 lead in the all-time series.

Bum Phillips began his high school football head coaching career in 1951 at Nederland. He left after the ’56 season to become an assistant coach at Texas A&M. Coach Phillips returned to the high school ranks in 1958 as the head coach at Jacksonville for one year before moving-on to Amarillo High from ’59 to ’61. His final high school stop was at Port Neches-Groves where his son Wade was his star linebacker. Then PNG was known only as Port Neches High School.

Phillips ’56 Nederland team reached the AAA state championship game where he lost to Garland 3-0. Phillips’ record at Nederland was 56-15-1.

Below are some newspaper clippings about Bum Phillips during his high school football coaching days.

1956 AAA State Championship – Nederland vs. Garland

Sun, Dec 23, 1956 – 13 · Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) · Newspapers.com

1957 hired by Paul “Bear” Bryant at Texas A&M

Fri, Jan 25, 1957 – Page 10 · Corsicana Daily Sun (Corsicana, Texas) · Newspapers.com

Amarillo High hires O.A. “Bum” Phillips

Thu, Dec 25, 1958 – 15 · The Shreveport Journal (Shreveport, Louisiana) · Newspapers.com

Leaves Texas Western for Port Neches

Thu, Apr 11, 1963 – Page 11 · Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas) · Newspapers.com

No More Fumbles

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.