Gov. Bredesen on Bud Adams: His word as good as a bond - WKRN News 2

Gov. Bredesen on Bud Adams: His word as good as a bond

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Bud Adams died Monday at the age of 90 at his Houston, Texas home. Bud Adams died Monday at the age of 90 at his Houston, Texas home.

Few in Tennessee knew Titans owner Bud Adams better than former Nashville mayor and Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen.

"He was not only someone you did business with, he became a friend and I really hate to see him go," Bredesen told News 2 Monday by phone while traveling in New York.

The two hammered out the milestone deal for Nashville over a period of nearly two years beginning in 1995.

It eventually turned Adams' NFL team the Houston Oilers into the Tennessee Titans. 

Key to the deal was a nearly $300 million dollar downtown Nashville stadium that largely relied on local, state, and season ticket-holder money to build.

"I got to know him through the years. I really liked him, even given our large age difference and backgrounds," added Bredesen who served as Nashville mayor from 1991 to 1999.

While the Harvard-educated Bredesen grew up modestly before making a fortune in health care during the 1980s, Adams was born into a prominent Oklahoma family before he started an oil and energy company in the 1940s.

"He came from a very successful family and he could have eased through life like a lot of people do, but he didn't, he was out, he was active and loved doing things," added Bredesen.

The former Nashville mayor who later served as governor from 2002 to 2010 remembered first meeting Adams for a private Nashville lunch in the summer of 1995.

"To be honest, I was a bit skeptical," Bredesen recounted.

The former mayor told how several NBA and NHL pro teams had shown interest in moving to a new Nashville downtown arena he had been building, but then the teams used that as leverage to get better deals in their respective cities.

"And we sat down to a long lunch that went into afternoon and talked a lot about Western art, which turned out to be something we had in common. We came out of it with a handshake that we were going to move forward with it," remembered Bredesen. "I liked dealing with him. Everything he told me, he always followed through on it, never had an issue with that. His word was always as good as a bond."

The former mayor told how Adams could have backed out of the original deal when it was brought to a Nashville referendum by a petition drive, but the Houston Oilers owner said "No, I trust you guys, let's go ahead and get this thing done."

Bredesen laughed a bit when remembering that Adams "said what was on his mind all the time, and sometimes it got him in trouble, but he was someone I admired very much."

He added that "most every year, I would continue to see him at his owner's suite at the stadium, and usually around his birthday," said the former Nashville mayor.
Bredesen said he last spoke to Adams earlier this year when the Titans owner turned 90 years old.

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