Wade Phillips gets new head coaching job; local community continues supporting NFL veteran

Published 12:09 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

Orange native and Port Neches-Groves graduate Wade Phillips will be one of eight head coaches leading an XFL team later this season.

The XFL announced Phillips will lead one of the teams. Bob Stoops, Terrell Buckley, Hines Ward, Rod Woodson, Reggie Barlow, Anthony Becht and Jim Haslett were also announced as head coaches.

Phillips was the head coach for six NFL franchises from 1985-2013.

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The PNG grad was the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in 2016 when the team won a Super Bowl. He was also the defensive coordinator for the Rams in 2018 when the Rams lost 13-3 to the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

The release from the XFL did not state where the coaches would land, and Phillips told Port Arthur Newsmedia the league is not doing individual interviews at this time.

Phillips is a inductee for the Sports Hall of Fame at the Museum of the Gulf Coast. Director Tom Neal said he would be more than willing to add more room in Phillips’ exhibit.

“It is kind of like all of these singers who were crying to get back in front of crowds after being locked up for a few years,” Neal said. “They missed being out there and doing what they enjoyed doing. I imagine that is what it is like for Wade.”

Neal said he was hosting a couple at the museum this week who were from out-of-state who lived in Denver during Phillips’ tenure with the Broncos.

“I am so happy for him,” Neal said. “He has so much to offer. He comes here at least once a year for his dad’s award that he gives out to high school coach of the year. You appreciate someone like that and you hope to see good things happen for folks like that.”

Nederland Head Coach Monte Barrow won the Bum Phillips Coach of the Year award last year. Phillips presented the ring to Barrow and keeps up with the Mid County Madness Rivalry between Nederland and his alma mater.

“I think when it is in you, it stays in you,” Barrow said. “Even when guys retire, there is still so much in them that loves what they do. I think this is something he will really enjoy. I don’t think he will have to deal as much as he did as an NFL coach. At his age and as long as he has done it, what is still there is the football part of it.”

Barrow said Phillips enjoys time away but said he always gets the itch to keep coaching.

“There is something in football coaches where there needs to be something happening,” he said. “There is an excitement and competitive edge. That is the biggest thing. If you are not competing at something, it is probably eating at you. I imagine it is eating at him to not devise a way to win a game and stop a fourth-and-1 one more time.”