Sunday, June 24, 2007

So long Buzz

He won a national championship at North Carolina. His college roommate was Michael Jordan. He climbed the coaching ladder all the way to the SEC. Everything about Buzz Peterson's resume is "big time". But it didn't take long for me to find out that Buzz had the furthest thing from a big time attitude. Thanks to David Bennett telling Buzz that he should do his coaches show with us, we got an opportunity to do a CCU basketball coaches show for the first time. I have to admit I was a little bit nervous heading into the first season. After all, Buzz was used to ESPN and a coaches show that had a huge staff and plenty of resources. It didn't take long for all of us to realize that coach Peterson was just like one of us. Sure, I'd be a little bit embarassed when I'm setting up the tripod in Radford, Virginia or High Point, North Carolina to tape our coaches show segment, but Buzz never looked down on us. I can recall about four or five times where a tape or microphone wouldn't be working and we'd have to reshoot. As a matter of fact, I always got the feeling he enjoyed the challenges we faced in putting a show on the air each and every Sunday.
It was amazing to see the switch that was turned on in the middle of his first season at CCU. The team really struggled in December and early January, but all of the suddent the Chants bought in to Peterson's attitude towards playing winning basketball and what ensued was a magical run that led CCU to within nine seconds of an NCAA Tournament berth. That wasn't the most impressive thing I witnessed in the Buzz Peterson era. I remember being on the road and Coastal was on their way to a double digit loss. Jack Leasure hit the floor hustling after a loose ball and his body was sprawled on the ground. All four of his teammates on the floor rushed over to help their teammate up. That particular moment, which happened probably hundreds of times over the past two seasons, really to me defines the Buzz Peterson era at Coastal Carolina.
When the first Buzz leaving Coastal rumors started following the 2005/06 season, I learned an important lesson. When stories broke that Peterson was packing his bags for the College of Charleston and that "the deal was done", I was worried that I was missing the scoop. All along, Buzz had kept in contact with me and was up front about everything that was going on. The temptation was there to go with unreliable sources and hope you get the big story, but during the entire four week span that story developed, I only had one source - Buzz Peterson. As he was in the midst of major decisions that impacted not only his career, but his entire family, he always made it a point to keep me in the loops - something he didn't have to do.
It's a bittersweet feeling for me. On the one hand, I'm thrilled that Buzz has an opportunity to be on the ground level of building a winning franchise in the NBA in his home state of North Carolina and to work alongside his close friend Michael Jordan. Trust me on this - Buzz has a great basketball mind. If you spent time in the edit bay watching game film, you would pick up on this in a hurry. On the other side, I am saying goodbye to one of the true highlights of my career (thank goodness I am still getting to spend Sunday's talking Coastal football with David Bennett!) I hope that we get the opportunity to continue to promote CCU basketball through our coaches show no matter who the new coach is, but I will always be grateful to Buzz for giving me a chance to sit by his side and talk CCU hoops. It's the same thing with Coach Bennett - when you sit next to a tremendous coach, great motivator and an outstanding communicator, you get that little extra boost of adrenaline to bring your "A" game even if you are working on three hours sleep on a Sunday morning.
I really think that Buzz could still be at Coastal Carolina. If there was a shovel in the ground in the proposed CCU arena, things might be different. I don't know if certain people on campus appreciated the impact that Buzz had on taking Chanticleer basketball to the next level. If I could use one word to sum up Buzz Peterson it would be class. Even though he's back in the big time, I know that if I set up that tripod at Bobcats Arena by myself and do an interview with him sometime soon, he'll have a big smile and we'll laugh about the old coaches shows and talk some more basketball.

1 comment:

cbutler said...

One of our local Athletes is being honored this Saturday. Terrence Butler (former Socastee High, now at Presbyterian) will be given an award for being the first All American at Presbyterian, during their awards banquet. We think you should cover the event because he deserves the recognition. Not only did he have a good year he is also a very good student maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA for the past three years while working part time. When he comes home he makes time to attend church and help with community functions. Terrence is a perfect example of what of what hard work can accomplished.
We think his accomplishments can inspire many young athletes, especially those from the Burgess community. Knowing he came from a meager background and was always considered to be to small to run the ball. Terrence did not let that stop him. Terrence has always had a pretty good following ever since the peewee days. Fans started calling him T-Bird in the fifth grade and that name has stuck for a reason. It was thrilling to watch him in high school, knowing every time he touch the ball something big can happen, he has bought that same excitement to Presbyterian. This is why we are asking you to cover Terrence. All of Horry County should be proud of one of there own doing good.

From PC website
Presbyterian College’s Terrance Butler was chosen to the 2007 Sports Network FCS All-America squad on Monday. Butler was named an Honorable Mention All-American at wide receiver.

Butler’s honor marks the first All-America honor for the Blue Hose at the NCAA Division I Football Championship

Butler (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) concluded his junior season by ending with the sixth-most yards in the FCS with 1,072 yards receiving in 2007.

It was one of three categories in which Butler ranked in the top 20 in the nation. Butler also finished the year 10th in the country in receiving yards per game at an average of 97.45 per outing, while he was 20th in the nation in receptions per game with an average of 5.91 caught per PC contest.