Tickets going fast: Roasters announced for June 3 Phillips roast
Published 12:01 am Sunday, March 13, 2016
Tables selling at a dizzying pace, word that NFL Films will be in attendance and the promise of a video salute from NFL legend Peyton Manning all contributed to an ongoing buzz around the Port Arthur News’ June 3 Homecoming Roast of Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Following last Sunday’s initial announcement that Phillips was going to be the 2016 honoree and that the Texans’ J.J. Watt and the Broncos’ DeMarcus Ware would be the headliners, Sam Monroe of the Port Arthur Historical Society was besieged with calls for reservations.
As of Friday afternoon, 66 of the 79 available tables at Lamar State College Port Arthur’s Carl Parker Center had been sold. As soon as the event sells out, probably early this week, Monroe intends to start a waiting list to be used if those who made a reservation have not paid by a certain date.
“I knew this was going to be a big deal,” said Monroe, “but I didn’t anticipate it getting so crazy so fast. “When I went to my office on Monday morning, there had been over 100 phone calls. The voice mail was full and the phone has not stopped ringing. We had calls from all over — Houston, Dallas, Waco and Lake Charles.
“It is a real testimony to how people feel about Wade Phillips,” Monroe continued. “Add to that J.J. Watt’s enormous popularity, and I think everyone sensed this was going to be a hot ticket. We still have a few tables to sell, but I don’t know how long they are going to last.”
Those wishing to reserve a table, or to buy individual tickets, should call Monroe at (409) 984-6262. If the voice mail is full, wait a while and call back.
Longtime radio personality Barry Warner, aka the Houston Sportsmouth, has agreed to be master of ceremonies for the evening. A one-time pro football scout back in the day when the American Football League forced a merger with the NFL, Warner has had a long and colorful career in radio and TV in the Bayou City.
Warner, who has had a long and close relationship with both Bum and Wade Phillips, was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in November. His current talk show — “Reality Check” — can be heard Monday through Friday from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN 97.5 FM.
In addition to Watt and Ware, the lineup of roasters includes Phillips’ son Wesley, Houston Chronicle NFL writer John McClain and former Houston Oilers center Carl Mauck.
Wesley Phillips is in his second year as tight ends coach for the Washington Redskins, after spending seven years on the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff. A one-time college quarterback at UTEP, his nine years as an NFL assistant make it 63 combined seasons of working at football’s highest level on the Phillips family coaching tree.
Mauck was a center for Bum Phillips’ overachieving Houston Oilers teams on which Wade was a young assistant in the mid-to-late 1970s. Volatile and outspoken, he coached with Wade after he retired and was one of Bum’s roasters in 1989. Diehard Oiler fans will remember him for how much he hated the Cowboys and for his rendition of the song “Oiler Cannonball.”
McClain’s writing days in Houston date back to covering Bum’s “Luv Ya Blue” Oilers. He has a plaque in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for winning the Dick McCann Memorial Award for Long and Distinguished Reporting of the NFL and is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
He also does numerous weekly radio sports talk shows from Houston (610 AM) to San Antonio, to St. Louis to Austin and has appeared in seven movies.
A sixth and final roaster will be announced at a later date. There will also be video tributes from the likes of Manning, CBS’ Jim Nantz, former Oilers QB Dan Pastorini and a handful of other NFL notables.
NFL Films, meanwhile, plans to send a three-person crew to shoot video of the roast for an NFL Network Special it is doing on the Denver coaching staff.
They intend to have a microphone on Phillips to get his reactions to what is said about him.
This will be the 13th Port Arthur News Homecoming Roast and the fifth tied to an NFL player or coach. That list includes Bum Phillips in 1989, Jimmy Johnson in 1993, Joe Washington in 2002 and Jamaal Charles in 2015.
All total, the roasts have raised over $700,000 for Port Arthur’s Museum of the Gulf Coast.