LEGEND: Community celebrates two-time champion

Penelope Neudorf
Words from Buck– Two-time state champion Leland “Buck” Caffey addresses the crowd on Buck Caffey Night on Nov. 17. The gym floor was officially named after him at the ceremony.

 The Seminole community gathered to honor a legendary Indian player and coach on Nov. 17.

  Leland “Buck” Caffey Night celebrated the Seminole native with the dedication and naming of the gym floor in his honor.

  “The legacy I hope to leave behind is that they always do right and act right,” Caffey said. “That’s what I hope for these kids.”

  Caffey won a state title as Seminole Indian in 1955 and in 1979 coached the Indians to a state championship.

  “There’s a tradition in losing,” Caffey said, “but it’s always better to have a tradition in winning.”

  Caffey was involved in the only two state basketball championships in Seminole history, taking his first under Coach Metz Lafollette.

  “He was such a great guy and a great coach,” Caffey said. “He was my football coach and my basketball coach.” 

  Caffey said he didn’t feel that he was deserving of having his name on the Seminole court.

  “I appreciate my name on the court,” Caffey said, “but I didn’t get to where I was alone.”

  Caffey wants his name to be left as a reminder of the kids he coached and the people he played with. 

  “It’s a great honor to be here tonight,” Caffey told Seminole fans. “These people here tonight have had a great influence on me.”

  Caffey has inspired countless Indians and Maidens.

  “He gives us something to play for every time we step on the court,” senior forward Blake Hamblin said. “We obviously want to be where he was and do what he did.”

  Caffey talked to Indian and Maiden teams before the dedication.

  “Caffey came in to talk to us,” junior post Zoee Nolen said. “He encouraged us to do our best and to hustle every time we stepped onto the court.” 

  Caffey left a long line of players inspired by his example.

  “When I hear Coach Caffey’s name, there’s a lot of phrases that come to mind,” 1979 championship player Joe Stewart said. “That man got far because of the framework of his mind.” 

  Caffey’s name on the court will spread the legacy of Seminole basketball to generations to come.  

  “I hope I have left a positive legacy for the kids,” Caffey said. “I ask them to do right and act right as well as make good grades, that’s what makes an athlete.”