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BORN IN BARTLESVILLE, OKLAHOMA
Kenneth Stanley "Bud" Adams, Jr. (January 3, 1923 – October 21, 2013)
Born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on January 3, 1923, Adams was the son of K. S. "Boots" Adams and Blanch Keeler Adams. After birth, he became an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation by virtue of his maternal line. Two of his great-grandmothers were Cherokee women who married European-American men: Nelson Carr and George B. Keeler. Each of them played roles in trade and oil in early Oklahoma. Keeler, specifically, drilled the first commercial oil well near the Caney River.
FRANK PHILLIPS, PRESIDENT OF PHILLIPS PRETROLEUM COMPANY
Adams's father succeeded the founder, Frank Phillips, as president of Phillips Petroleum Company in 1939. Adams's ancestors include prominent Cherokee leaders. Most recognizable is Adams's uncle, William Wayne Keeler, CEO of Phillips Petroleum Company for years, who was appointed Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation by President Harry S. Truman in 1949 and served until 1975.
UNITED STATES NAVY
During World War II, Adams served in the United States Navy in the Pacific Theater of operations, attaining the rank of Lieutenant (Junior Grade). After the war, he returned to KU for additional studies and became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. After he completed his studies, he moved to Houston, Texas. He had discovered that he liked the area shortly after his 1946 discharge, when he was on a trip in which his plane was fogbound in the city. He liked the area so much that he decided to settle in Houston.
Adams soon became interested in owning an NFL team. In 1959, Adams and fellow Texas oilman Lamar Hunt tried to buy the struggling Chicago Cardinals and move them to Texas. When that effort failed, he attempted to purchase an expansion team, only to be turned down. A few days after returning to Houston, Adams and Hunt proposed an entirely new football league. They decided that Adams would field a team in Houston and Hunt would host a team in Dallas. In their view, a regional rivalry between Hunt's Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs) and a Houston team would be critical to the league's growth. On August 3, Adams and Hunt held a press conference in Adams's boardroom to announce the formation of the new league, which was formally named the American Football League. It remained the AFL before joining the NFL as part of the AFL–NFL merger in the late 1960s.
The Houston Oilers began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL). The Oilers were at the top of the league during the early period of the AFL. They went on to win the first two championship games. His team played in a total of four AFL Championship games. Adams now sits as a member of the American Football League Hall of Fame.
Adams and the other AFL owners received a tremendous boost in credibility in 1966 with the merger of the AFL with and into the NFL. In 1968 Adams moved his team into the Astrodome, effective at the start of the 1970 season.
After the 1996 season, Adams relocated the Oilers to Tennessee, where they were known as the “Tennessee Oilers” for the 1997 and 1998 seasons. The Oilers played the 1997 season in Memphis before moving to Nashville in 1998. In 1999, to coincide with the opening of their new stadium, Adams changed the team name to the “Tennessee Titans”.
THE PASSING OF ADAMS
Adams continued to run Adams Resources as Chairman and ___ until his passing in 2013.