"You can go anywhere in the United States, and if they're a football fan, they know Bum Phillips," Mike Johnson said Saturday afternoon at his friend Everett's house in Nederland.

The day after legendary football coach Bum Phillips passed away at the age of 90, two of his former players reminisced about the man who taught them so much.

"His door was always open," said Johnson.

"He was a hard coach, but he was a good coach," said Everett "Tootie" Litchfield. "He expected the best from you and you wanted to give it to him."

Everett Litchfield and Mike Johnson played for the Nederland Bulldogs under Phillips in 1956, the year they lost in the state championship.

Nederland won the state championship under new head coach Emmett McKenzie the very next year.

Phillips also coached at Port Neches-Groves High School from 1963-1964.

Phillips went on to a successful career coaching in the NFL, where he was defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, and later head coach for the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints.

He became known for the cowboy hat he always wore... except when playing under a dome.

"No no, his mother said you do not wear a hat in the house," said Johnson.

Litchfield and Johnson will never forget 2007, when Phillips returned to Mid-County to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nederland's state championship.

"Everybody wanted to see him, and he didn't shun anybody. He stayed there, he signed autographs and took pictures," said Litchfield.

"He made the comment that Mid-County was his start, if it wasn't for Mid-County he probably wouldn't be where he was at that point."