Titans owner Bud Adams dead at 90

Titans owner Bud Adams dead at 90

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Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams has died at the age of 90. Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams has died at the age of 90.

Tennessee Titans owner K.S. "Bud" Adams has died.  He was 90 years old.

In a statement, the Titans said Adams "passed away peacefully from natural causes" at his home in Houston Monday morning.

Funeral information will be released in the coming days.

A native of Bartlesville, Oklahoma and son of a prominent oil executive, Adams was never afraid to take a chance.

In 1946, at the age of only 23, he began his oil empire with the ADA Oil Company which later became Adams Resources and Energy.

Adams was always a sports fan.  He played college football at Kansas and used his money to sponsor athletics.

He made history in 1959 when he and Lamar Hunt announced the formation of the new American Football League.  Hunt had a team in Dallas and Adams fielded the Houston Oilers.  His legacy in pro football was underway.

The Oilers won two AFL titles in 1960 and 1961 before the famous merger with the NFL in 1970.  Adams had helped changed the landscape of pro sports in America.

In 1996, the Oilers played their final game in Houston after a battle with the city over stadium issues and made the move to Tennessee. 

The Oilers played one infamous season in Memphis and one at Vanderbilt's stadium before they officially changed their name to the Tennessee Titans in 1999 and moved into what is now LP Field.

That season they gave Adams his only Super Bowl appearance; a memorable loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Adams' 54-year tenure was not without controversy.  He was a fiery owner, not afraid to make moves, fire coaches and even made a one man push for Peyton Manning in 2012.

In 2009 he was fined $250,000 for repeated obscene gestures directed at his old AFL rival the Buffalo Bills.

But, Adams also had a softer side, directing about $20 million into local charities in Tennessee since moving the team 15 years ago.

Many times since the Titans moved to Nashville, Bud Adams made the trip from Houston with his checkbook.

In 2009, Mr. Adams and his late wife Nancy donated a $500,000 to Baptist Hospital, which is now St. Thomas, to its obstetrics expansion.

The hospital re-named a waiting room as the Bud and Nancy Adams Family Waiting Room.

The $500,000 gift was one of many.

Adams also kicked off the Tennessee Titans Foundation with $500,000, donated $400,000 for recovery efforts after the Nashville flood, among other donations.

Adams and his wife Nancy were married for 62 years before her passing in February of 2009.  They raised two daughters, Susie Smith and Amy Strunk, and a son, Kenneth Adams III, who is deceased. 

Adams leaves behind seven grandchildren including Kenneth Adams IV, who is the Administrative Assistant to Senior EVP for the Titans and works out of Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville.

He also leaves behind a legacy that will eventually leave him in the NFL Hall of Fame.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Adams a "pioneer and innovator" who was "truly gift to the NFL."

"Bud saw the potential of pro football and brought the game to new cities and new heights of popularity, first in Houston and then in Nashville," Goodell said in a statement, adding, "He was a brilliant entrepreneur with a terrific sense of humor that helped lighten many a tense meeting.  His commitment to the best interests of the game and league was unwavering, and his personal along with the team's impact in community relations and philanthropy set a standard for the NFL."

Former head coach Jeff Fisher spent 17 seasons with the Oilers/Titans franchise.

"I'm extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Bud Adams," he said in a statement. "Mr. Adams gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL, and I'm eternally grateful to him for that."

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean called Adams "a very important figure in the history of Nashville," adding, "He put us in the major leagues" in reference to Adams moving the Oilers to Music City.

Click here for more statements regarding Adams' passing.

It is believed the team's ownership will be passed down to Adams' surviving family members.

Mr. Adams has made it clear he wants the Titans to stay in Nashville and the team's lease at LP Field extends through 2028.

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