It was a glorious time in Houston sports. The Oilers owned the city. University of Houston football and basketball were national powers. The late 1970s/early 1980s was a time of legendary coaches and superstar players.
A generation ago, men like Bum Phillips prowled the sidelines, capturing the heart of football fans everywhere.
You will find no shortage of homages to Phillips, who was as beloved as any sports figure Houston has had. A great coach, a terrific character, and an even better man.
His passing reminds us of a time long gone.
A time when the Oilers would fill the Astrodome for a pep rally after the team lost a game. A time when characters like Phillips and Carl Mauck entertained us with their personalities as well as their success.
A time when Bill Yeoman was coaching the Houston Cougars into the top five. When Guy V. Lewis was taking Cougar basketball to multiple Final Fours.
Lewis finally and deservedly made the basketball Hall of Fame this year. His health has been failing in recent years, and it was good to see him get that honor while he was still around to enjoy it.
Yeoman is still around the program and remains sharp as a tack.
All of these men coached before social media, before everything was constantly scrutinized. They brought us memorable moments and players we'll never forget.
With Phillips passing, it's fitting to remember not just his accomplishments, but the other men who helped build sports in this city. Men like Phillips. Yeoman. Lewis. Yes, Bud Adams. The players who gave their bodies -- Earl Campbell, Dan Pastorini. In the circle of life, we begin to lose great men, as we did with Jack Pardee and now Phillips.
The coaches and players of that era seemed larger than life. We enjoyed the exploits, admired the accomplishments, chuckled at their unique personalities.
It was a time of all these men. A time of Nolan Ryan. A time of Moses Malone. A time where the teams got oh, so close, but never quite over the top.
And we loved them anyway.
And of course, it was a time of Bum Phillips. The man with the cowboy hat and the drawl. The man with the memorable one-liners. The man who took the Oilers to the verge of that door they could never quite kick in. He was the face of perhaps Houston's greatest run in terms of sports characters who were also successes.
As we honor Phillips, we should remember the man and his accomplishments. We should also remember the times, because we might not see them again.