National Columnist

Here's another heartwarming Buzz Williams story ... or five

Lots of people have a Buzz Williams story, and they wanted to share theirs with me, even before I could share mine with them. It started on Thursday afternoon with this tweet:

Again, that was just a tweet. My story on Buzz hadn't gone up yet, and wouldn't go up for hours. It did go up late Thursday night, and here it is, but people responded well before that.

Basketball coaches, even one from the same conference. Sports writers with stories about Buzz impacting their life. One writer wrote to tell me how Buzz had impacted a fired Division II football coach. The responses poured in, one after another, and here is a smattering of five:

(UPDATE, 1:35 p.m: Six stories, now, because of an email I received. It's at the end, and it's worth your time too.)

(UPDATE, 1:42 p.m: Make that seven. Again, at the end.)

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Big East basketball coach, via text: You're bawling? Is Buzz OK?

Me: Sorry! Yeah, he's great. Those were happy tears.

Big East coach: Oh good. I love Buzz.

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CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman, via email:

Remember that Minnesota-Makato football head coach [Todd Hoffner] who loses his job and gets smeared in wake of Sandusky because some "IT" person turned him in for having pictures of his own toddlers running around naked? Buzz reached out and told Hoffner and his wife he was paying for them to go to Disney World for a few weeks in the middle of all the chaos so they could get away and his kids could have fun. Hoffner said he couldn't accept that. Buzz insisted... FWIW Buzz wasn't the source of it to me. Another football coach heard about it from Hoffner.

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The Marquette student sportswriter:

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The Sports Illustrated Now writer:

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The former assistant at a Big 12 school:

True story--when we were fired at [Big 12 school], Buzz Williams called me immediately that same day to check on me. Unheard of in my opinion. He then asked me if I wanted to come work his camp in the summer. I work his camp and was in Milwaukee for 17 days, he took care of me amazingly and was doing everything he could to help me get a job. He helped pay for my son's diapers when my 45 days of pay/insurance was out. I am here [as head coach of a junior college] because of him. When this job opened up I called him and asked if he could help me for this job. He said give me five minutes, called me right back and said the job is yours. I hadn't even talked to the AD, the President or sent in my resume at all, but it was done thanks to him. Buzz has checked on me numerous times to just see how my family is doing, never asks me about players, he just wants to know how my son is doing and wife. When I told him we were adopting he was as pumped for me as he was for beating a Big East team.

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The middle school basketball coach:

My Buzz Story: My middle school basketball team and I were attending the Carlisle vs. Huntington Prep basketball game in Huntington WV at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Feb. 5. There was a who's who of coaches there sitting courtside to watch the No. 1 sophomore in the country (Thon Maker for Carlisle) along with three uncommitted players for Prep. John Calipari and Buzz Williams were the two biggest names along with our head coach of our local university, Marshall University's Tom Herrion. Coach Herrion brought along his son Robert who is autistic. While every other coach was glued to the game Buzz spent his time talking with Coach Herrion and Robert while taking glimpses of the game. I was sitting a few rows back watching Buzz speak to Robert, then look at his dad to ask if it was all right to take him to the concession stand. After 15 minutes or so pass by, here come Buzz and Robert, both with their hands full of popcorn, candy and bottle water for every coach sitting courtside with them.

Josh Perkey

Head Coach

Vinson Middle School Boys Basketball

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Marquette fan CJ Conrad, via email:

Thank you for the great story. My son is autistic, but has this Rain Man thing going on for basketball. When Vander Blue was a freshman we were at a Buzz's Bunch pregame shootaround. Buzz was talking to my wife when my son came over and shouted some statistics at him -- imagine, a kid citing statistics to Buzz! Buzz then takes my son by the hand and walks him over to Vander, who was probably the most heralded and well-known recruit we had had in some time. Buzz says, "I'd like to introduce you to Vander Blue." To which my son said: "No, that's ok," and ran off, leaving Vander with his mouth hanging open. Buzz starts laughing and tells Vander: "We all get humbled."

 
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