A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 30, 2016
“He may not be in a class by himself, but it doesn’t take long to call the roll”

Houston Oilers Coach Bum Phillips (1923-2013) said of his star running back Earl Campbell in November 1979:

“Earl may not be in a class by himself, but whatever class he’s in, it doesn’t take long to call the roll.”

“He may not be in a class by himself, but it don’t take long to call the roll” is a common form of the Phillips saying, and it’s been used to describe others, besides Campbell.


Wikipedia: Bum Phillips
Oail Andrew “Bum” Phillips (September 29, 1923 – October 18, 2013) was an American football coach at the high school, college and professional levels. He served as head coach in the National Football League (NFL) for the Houston Oilers from 1975 to 1980 and the New Orleans Saints from 1981 to 1985. He was the father of NFL coach Wade Phillips.

Wikipedia: Earl Campbell
Earl Christian Campbell (born March 29, 1955) is a former American football running back who played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints. Known for his aggressive running style and ability to break tackles, Campbell gained a reputation as one of the best power running backs of all time.

4 November 1979, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Sports/People,” pg. 4F, col. 1:
Honor Roll
The National Football League’s leading rusher diminishes his own contributions and credits his teammates. But Houston Oiler Coach Bum Phillips doesn’t show such modesty where his star, Earl Campbell, is concerned. “Earl may not be in a class by himself, but whatever class he’s in, it doesn’t take long to call the roll,” Phillips contends.

10 November 1979, Atlanta (GA) Journal and Constitution, “Quoting ‘Em,” pg. 2-C, col. 4:
Bum Phillips, Houston Oilers coach, assessing the talents of running back Earl Campbell:

“Earl may not be in a class by himself, but whatever class he’s in, it doesn’t take long to call the roll.”

Google News Archive
12 October 1983, The Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario), Knight-Ridder News, pg. 52, col. 8:
Old joke, old man
New Orleans Saints coach Bum Phillips was talking about his quarterback, Ken Stabler, recently.

“Stabler is like Earl Campbell,” Phillips said. “He may not be in a class by himself, but it don’t take long to call the roll.”

“That’s an old line,” said a reporter.

“That’s an old quarterback,” said Phillips.

Google Books
Nothing but Winners:
Over 6,000 one-liners, alphabetized and categorized for easy reference

By Pat Williams and Ken Hussar
Wilmington, DE: TriMark Pub. Co.
1984
Pg. 201:
Referring to a phenomenal running back: “He may not be in a class by himself, but whatever class he’s in, it doesn’t take long to call the roll.”

Google Books
Rude Behavior
By Dan Jenkins
New York, NY: Random House
1999
Pg. 255:
The caption read: I WON’T SAY BILLY CLYDE PUCKETT IS IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF, BUT IT DON’T TAKE LONG TO CALL THE ROLL.

Google Books
The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame:
Heroes and Icons

By Steven Johnson and Greg Oliver, with Mike Mooneyham
Toronto, ON: ECW Press
2012
Pg. ?:
“If Abe Jacobs isn’t in a class by himself, it certainly doesn’t take long to call the roll.”

Twitter
Don Newbury
‏@donnewbury
Denver defensive coach Wade Phillips may be in a “class by himself.” If not, as his dad would say, “It don’t take long to call the roll.”...
10:16 PM - 7 Feb 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Friday, September 30, 2016 • Permalink