|The Toughest Coach There Ever Was by Frank Deford|
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Royce had to write this, because it was too emotional for her to say: "Bobbie spent her closeness with Bull at the piano. Gael would sing to him, and Vic was at the field house sharing his life there. My time with Bull was spent in nature and with animals. We would walk to ponds and put out fish traps (we always caught turtles). We would walk in the woods on Sundays. Bull would help me care for and learn all about my animals. This is where Bull taught me about God and the way of mankind and the world."
Still, no bigger school would touch Bull Cyclone. The word that traveled before him was that he was a thug, the meanest football coach that ever walked the land. Buckner remembers getting an offer to play quarterback at a major school "up north in Virginia." The backfield-coaching job was vacant, and he said he'd come if Bull Cyclone was hired. Buckner tried to explain what a genius the man was. The head coach told him to' save his breath. "Hey, I'm afraid of that man," he said.
Clois Cheatham, who is now the president of Scooba, shakes his head. "Off the field, no one was more compassionate," says Cheatham. "But the name was right. He was bullheaded, and he couldn't always make the right transition to others after dealing with players."
At Perkinston J.C., they used to fire a cannon right behind the visitors' bench to stir up the crowd. Bull Cyclone, who could still get nervous when he heard loud noises-"You didn't sneak up on Dad," Bobbie says-protested to the president of Perkinston, but the reply came back that the cannon was "tradition." Bull Cyclone then wrote that "my managers and I will bring double-barreled shotguns to Perkinston, and if there is one tradition I learned in the military it was to retaliate." The president agreed to silence the guns of Perkinston. And so the tales of rough, tough Bull Cyclone spread, and Stumpy Harbour simmered.
By now, too, Bull Cyclone had been pretty much his own football boss for a long time. Maybe he never could work well under someone else. Virginia recalls sitting in the press box with Bull when he was a lowly assistant at Oregon. Over the phone he kept imploring Whistlin' Jim Aiken to employ a certain strategy. After a while, when the head coach didn't, Bull Cyclone just sat back, folded his arms and watched the game, refusing to answer the phone for the balance of the half.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 March 2008 )|
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