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Bull Cyclone had some kind of temper. Because he was a man of his word, remarks he made while in a rage were not disregarded. He often drove the team bus, a rattly, broken-down vehicle that was known as Night Train because it seemed to function better after the sun went down. After one defeat, Bull Cyclone climbed behind the wheel and announced that he was so mad he was going to run the bus off the road and kill the whole team. Box, who was aboard, says, "I don't know how many of us believed him—most of us believed everything he ever said—but the manager sure did, because he started crying, 'Well, let me off first, Corch, because I'm just the manager, and I didn't have a thing to do with us losing this game.' "
Bull Cyclone's tempestuous hijinks didn't go unnoticed. People would come out just to watch him carry on, throw his coat down, stomp on his hat. One time at Holmes the crowd got so abusive that Bull Cyclone called time and had his players pick up their benches and march to the other side of the field. Robert McGraw, now an assistant at Ole Miss, recalls seeing Bull Cyclone storm onto the field because a wide receiver had run the wrong route. He picked up the player by his jersey and sort of flung him aside. The boy scurried to the bench and hid under it, quaking, while the coach stormed back, the fans all the while chanting, "Give 'em hell, Bull!"
At his maddest, he could really kick a ball. Langston Rogers, who served as Bull Cyclone's aide-de-camp and is now the sports information director at Ole Miss, swears that on one occasion when the coach got mad at the officials, he blustered onto the field between plays, right up to the line of scrimmage, and booted the ball 30 yards, soccer style, dead through the uprights. Another time he went out and kicked the game ball into the stands. As a result the Mississippi Junior College Association required him to spend the whole next game in a chair on the sideline. Stumpy Harbour was infuriated. He acted as if Bull Cyclone had embarrassed him in front of the other presidents. None of them had a football coach kicking game balls into the stands, did they?
A lot of people thought Bull Cyclone would never be able to sit still in the chair the entire game, so there was no telling what Stumpy would do. But, wouldn't you know it, Bull Cyclone stayed put, barely even rising from his seat. That might have made Stumpy even madder. Bull Cyclone could control himself when he had to. Why, to this day, you'd have a hard time finding a lady in Kemper County who ever heard coach Bob (Bull) (Cyclone) Sullivan utter a curse word.
For that matter, although he constantly fought with officials, he never argued just to dispute a call. Bull Cyclone only let the officials have it when he thought they had misinterpreted a rule. "You stink, Billbo!" he screamed when Billbo Mitchell made a call that Sullivan didn't agree with. Mitchell stepped off 15 before saying, "Can you still smell me, Bull?" Bull Cyclone was a stickler about the rules. He knew the book so well and cared so passionately for it that General Neyland, the revered Tennessee coach, eventually got Bull Cyclone from Scooba appointed to the NCAA rules committee, even though his unknown little school wasn't even a member of that august national body.
This isn't to say that Bull Cyclone was above taking the rules as far as they could go. At least one time, in the rain, he taped thumbtacks to his quarterbacks' fingers so they could get a better grip on the ball. That worked just fine until the tacks started scratching up the pigskin better than a Don Sutton belt buckle. Another time, Bull Cyclone got to thinking about how his linemen pulled out to block. He was using the split T then, and most of the plays came off the quarterback rolling right. So Coach thought, "Well now, if my guard and tackle are going to pull on just about every play and everybody figures this, I might as well get them headed in the right direction to start with." So he had them come up to the line of scrimmage and take their three-point stances facing the other way, with their rear ends staring the opposing linemen in the face.
And on a most memorable occasion, just as Scooba was about to score against Southwest, the officials called a holding penalty, citing the number of a player who wasn't in the game. Enraged by this breach, Bull Cyclone ran onto the field to get his point across better. That's an automatic 15 on top of the 15 for holding. First-and-40. Potter, the referee, said, "You gotta go back, Corch," but Bull Cyclone kept on coming. Another 15. First-and-55. "C'mon, Bull," Potter pleaded. He liked him. "Go on back, or I gotta give you 15 more."
"I don't give a damn!" Bull Cyclone thundered. "You're wrong!" Potter stepped off 15 more. First-and-70. Then, as soon as Potter placed the ball down once again, Bull Cyclone went into his patented kicking phase. He booted the bejesus out of the ball. By the time they retrieved it, it was first-and-85.
Because they had nearly run out of acreage and he had made his point, Bull Cyclone returned to the sideline, pausing only to tell his quarterback to call a Z-out, Z-in. This was one play, mind you. Southwest was still laughing and, needless to say, wasn't looking for Bull Cyclone to try to get the whole 85 back on one play. But he was. Z-out, Z-in, TD.
"Wooo, that did it," Poole says.