When you cover sports in Orangeburg, there's no way you can do so without running into Buddy Pough.
The longtime S.C. State head coach has always had a way with words. For as long as I've known him, that hasn't changed.
After every home game, then-S.C. State Sports Information Director Bill Hamilton would bring Buddy into the postgame media room and Buddy would sit and give his take on what his Bulldogs did that Saturday -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- with a Diet Coke by his side.
Even when things didn't go well, Buddy provided that brutal honesty without excuse. There was never any "coachspeak" with him. Buddy was always a straight shooter.
One of my favorite stories involving Buddy actually happened recently. A year ago, South Carolina State and North Carolina Central were scheduled to play at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium, but that didn't happen thanks to Hurricane Florence.
After getting word of the postponed game, my first call was to Buddy. We exchanged greetings and got right down to business to discuss the postponed game and what it meant for his team. As we spoke, he talked about the importance of his players being able to be with their families as this natural disaster was headed for the Carolinas.
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Pough told me that a few of his players would be allowed to be with their families during that nerve-racking time. Now, I can't tell you if that decision was Pough's alone, but it further solidified his reputation for me.
Buddy isn't just a coach. He wants what is best for his players and those working closely with his program. From getting players involved in the community to the Lift-a-Bulldog program, Buddy makes every effort to put his players in positions to succeed on and off the field.
And when success did come for the program, he quickly moved the spotlight to the team's "chief cook and bottle washer" and the coaches and staff that worked tirelessly to help Pough run his program.
It's hard to overstate what Buddy has done in this business of coaching. Winning conference titles isn't always easy. Being the staple of a program and being the guy that other coaches aim to emulate isn't something most people want to be when they grow up. But Buddy has done that and he's done it his way.