SULLIVANT: Oh, the ways he brought the toughness out of us. He walked up to me one day and said, "The boys told me you think you can whip me. Me and you are gonna go find out." Man, I'd never said that to anyone, but the more he prodded me, the more I wanted to knock the fire out of his ass. We got into our stances. He knocked me back so hard, I kissed the moon. He just laughed. He said, "Remember, son: Skill and intelligence always win out over ignorance and superstition."
DORIS: He was a Sunday-school teacher. One tenth of our paycheck went to the Baptist church.
CAMPBELL: I confronted him on the budget. He said, "Let's go to the superintendent's office and see who's running this sonofabitch." I said, "Fine." See, he didn't know about power yet. He didn't know that the track coach who had no funds left was the friend of the superintendent.
SULLIVANT: I got two teeth knocked out in practice one day. I'm bleeding, thinking, This is bad. He sticks a wad of cotton in my mouth and tells me I'm fine. A few minutes later he says, "Let's have a little bull-in-the-ring." Six or seven guys in a circle, me in the middle. Buddy starts calling out numbers, and they take turns coming at me from all sides, and I have to keep getting up, dropping into my stance and fighting them off. Finally one of them throws an elbow at me, and I've already lost the two teeth and I'm mad, and I hit the kid in the eye. That's all Buddy wanted to know about me.
DORIS: A hymn could do it. Sometimes he'd cry in church.
CAMPBELL: Helluva coach, but he was fired after that one year of being in charge. Players went on strike for him, missed four days of spring practice, until I talked them out of it.
SULLIVANT: Buddy called all over the country, sent film everywhere. Got scholarships for 13 of the 14 in my graduating class, and half of them had no right to one. Because he cared so much, I got a scholarship. Became a lawyer and a district judge. He changed the course of lives. Somebody will bless him for that.
Early Sixties. University of Buffalo. Striding across the floor of a small dance studio in Clark Gym, the new assistant coach.
A room with barres lining the walls so ballerinas can stretch.