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He knows how to take charge
Joe Jares
February 05, 1979
Though only a JC coach, Bud Presley is among the best in the business
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February 05, 1979

He Knows How To Take Charge

Though only a JC coach, Bud Presley is among the best in the business

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?"About as fine a teacher of team and individual defense as any man I've seen."—former Cal Coach Pete Newell.

?"He is a great disciplinarian. He's at the top of the list there, above Bobby Knight or anyone else."—Avina.

One of Presley's players took a bad shot a few years ago—it doesn't happen often—and Presley ran on the floor, grabbed the kid, carried him past the bench and dumped him in the third row of the stands. The referees were so shocked they didn't even call a technical foul. And Presley felt so bad afterward about the incident that he couldn't make himself go into the locker room. He waited outside, half hoping the youngster would come out and paste him one. Instead, the player came out and hugged Presley, and they both started crying.

Presley is capable of screaming at a player—"You sprint back on defense next time, or you'll never play another minute for this school"—and a few minutes later, be it after victory or defeat, telling the player without the least hint of embarrassment how much he loves him. Presley's extreme emotions are probably a reaction to the reserved manner in which he was treated by his father, whom Bud idolized. Presley Sr., a multisport athlete at Stanford and a prosperous San Francisco lawyer who died when his son was 11, showed affection by putting on boxing gloves and sparring with Bud.

One year during Presley's coaching days at Cubberley High in Palo Alto, his team had a 12-0 record when several top players got injured. Cubberley lost seven games in a row, and Presley was going crazy. Gloria, who would rather go to the opera than a basketball game, suggested that he drop his boorish ways and behave more like the gentlemanly Inman, then coaching at San Jose State.

"I was desperate, I was willing to try anything," says Presley. "I tried to be Stu for a week. I wore a suit and I took my briefcase to practice, and when some tender candy wouldn't crash the boards, I would call time and say, 'Son, do you not think that if you rebounded with just a bit more intensity, it might benefit our cause?' Then I would smile.

"Well, this went on for a week, and we lost two more games. Then one night I had to go scout. The whole squad came over to the house—they loved to come over and see Gloria and get a little sanity in their lives, a little mellowness and tenderness. They said, 'We know the coach isn't home, Mrs. Presley, but we came to talk with you.'

"So they came in the house, and a couple of them said, 'We think the coach has quit on us. We think he has given up on us. He's not himself. He doesn't scream at us anymore. He doesn't call us terrible names. Is he sick?'

"Gloria said, 'No, not physically. Mentally, yes, he has been sick for years.'

"The point is, I couldn't be Stu Inman. I had to be myself. Kids see through a phony in two seconds. They want somebody to set limits for them. They're crying for somebody to make them physically and mentally as good as they can be. They want somebody to make them work hard. They want somebody to teach them the glory and thrill of an all-out effort.

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