The first major coaching casualties of the football season became known Monday when Bum Phillips resigned as coach of the the New Orleans Saints, Foge Fazio was fired at the University of Pittsburgh, and Jim Garrett resigned at Columbia University.
Phillips, the crew-cut cowboy coach of the Saints since 1981, abruptly quit, forgoing the final three years of his contract--and $1.3 million.
Phillips' son Wade, the team's defensive coordinator, was named interim head coach.
The Saints, after winning Sunday at Minnesota, are 4-8 this year. Phillips was 27-42 in four-plus seasons at New Orleans and 86-80 for his career in the NFL.
Phillips, 62, came to New Orleans in 1981 after reviving the Houston Oilers and turning them from an NFL doormat into a playoff team.
Fazio, whose relationship with Pitt goes back to the late '50s and who coached the Panthers since 1982, was let go after a 5-5-1 season.
Fazio's dismissal came two days after Pitt concluded its second sub-par season at 5-5-1, finishing with a 31-0 loss Saturday to No. 1 Penn State. The Panthers were 25-18-3, including losses in the 1982 Cotton and 1983 Fiesta bowls, during Fazio's four-season tenure at his alma mater.
Fazio, 46, has indicated to friends he is disillusioned with college football and might seek a job in the pros.
Fazio starred for the Panthers in the late 1950s and worked as an assistant coach at Pitt from 1969-72 and 1977-81.
Garrett, who began the season in controversy and ended it with an 0-10 record, resigned after one year at Columbia.
The 55-year-old Garrett, who spent more than two decades in the professional ranks as a player, coach and administrator, promised Columbia officials that he would win when they hired him last Dec. 27.
Instead, the Lions became the first Ivy League team to lose 10 games in a season and will take a 21-game losing streak into the 1986 campaign. The Lions were 0-9 under Bob Naso in 1984.
Garrett created a stir after the first defeat of the year when he called his team "drug-addicted losers" and said his team's punter would never amount to anything after graduation.