The coaches and players he paid always called him Mr. Adams, but to the fans of football in Nashville and in Houston, he was just good old "Bud."
Nashvillians are likely to remember Adams as a grandfatherly figure in his trademark powder blue suit, occasionally bringing unnecessary attention to himself, including when he flashed a middle finger on the field.
But what most people didn't know was Adams' life in football started as a player. He was a letter-winning quarterback for Kansas University in 1942, then served in the Pacific Fleet in World War II as a Navy aviation officer.
His service would lead to a life in business, oil and then football in Houston and Nashville, often with a no-nonsense approach to his employees.
Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean's beat writer for the Titans, spoke with Adams regularly.
"He was just a kind of fun, loving guy who enjoyed having fun. But he was serious when it came to business. People who worked for him, I wouldn't say they worked in fear, but they knew he wasn't messing around," Wyatt said.
Adams didn't just bring football to Nashville, he brought it to Houston in 1960 then took it away from that city nearly 40 years later.
The anger for him in Houston has never quite gone away.
"He's not a guy who would beat around the bush. If you were underperforming, he was gonna say it. If he was disappointed in how the team was playing, he was gonna say it," Wyatt said.
One other misconception about Adams was that his success in the oil business made people immediately think that he was a Texan. Instead, he actually grew up in Oklahoma and Kansas.