When I first accepted the job of sports editor at The Times and Democrat, naturally, one of the first people I met was Buddy Pough.
Covering South Carolina State football was, in many ways, an intimidating proposition at the time. I'd never been on a college beat, and I knew the storied history of the program. I also knew I'd be replacing a very established beat writer in Thomas Grant, who had covered the Bulldogs for around 20 years.
Despite my initial reservations, S.C. Stat welcomed me in with open arms, and I think much of that can be attributed to how Pough runs his program.
The man is a beat writer's dream. Always quotable and ever accessible (yes, even when he disagreed with the basis or content of the story). The "Buddyisms" mined from the man are plentiful in number and tremendous in content.
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The Bulldogs are one of the most-covered HBCUs in the country when it comes to football, and I don't think it's any secret why the press box at Oliver C. Dawson is full every weekend. Media members know they'll be treated well and get plenty of the head coach's time in the postgame, regardless of the outcome on the field.
So whether it was feeling groggy at Pough's 6 a.m. practices, Buddy endlessly chiding me about having a Walterboro cell phone number or our mutual bemoaning of the state of our golf games as we sat together on press row watching a MEAC basketball game, I always thoroughly enjoyed my interactions with Coach Pough. He was one of the people who made my time in Orangeburg something I look back on fondly.
Pough and S.C. State are the peanut butter and jelly of FCS football: the two things just go together. Now they'll be forever linked in history.
I congratulate Buddy on becoming South Carolina State's all-time winningest coach. Here's to many more victories, and coach, I hope you keep finding not "just a guy," but some "guys who can really be guys."