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Buzz Williams on the importance of Buzz’s Bunch

Junior Cadougan poses with a member of Buzz's Bunch. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics)

Marquette coach Buzz Williams hosted the second of three Buzz’s Bunch shoot arounds prior to Saturday afternoon’s game against Northern Colorado.

The program, created by Williams, brings together special needs children and their families with the Marquette basketball family. Along with a summer camp hosted exclusively by Williams and the team, children and families of Buzz’s Bunch come and shoot around with the team prior to one of three games each year.

The entire team, coaching staff and cheer squad are on the court rebounding, playing, taking pictures and signing autographs with Buzz’s Bunch for about an hour.

As a brother of a member in Buzz’s Bunch, this program and the positive energy and excitement it brings to each child’s face is unlike anything else. Here was Williams’ response after today’s game, on why Buzz’s Bunch is so important for him, the team and the families involved in the program.

“The response has been overwhelming from the very beginning. And our staff, our student workers, Caitlin Nicoletto, Barb (Kellaher), man they’re passionate about it. Because they know I really care.

My friends in the state, I have two friends that are over 70, because I love old people. And other than my staff and the preacher at my church, my friends are derivatives of Buzz’s Bunch.

And I had one of the dads today ask me, and I’m signing, you know the poster that Scott has? It has all our kids on it. And he said, Buzz will you sign this for his son, who can’t speak. And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And so I’m signing it and he said, ‘Why are you not on here?’ And I said, ‘Never been on a media guide cover, never been on a poster, never have done anything where I’m in the front, ever. The only thing that’s ever had my name on it, from the time I was hired 1,347 days later, is Buzz’s Bunch. That’s it. And as long as I’m here, for however long I’m here, it’ll be the same.’

You talk about tough. The toughness required of those parents and of those kids, it puts it all in perspective really fast. Unspoken. There’s 37 families here today, there were 25 here today last Saturday, there’s scheduled to be 49 here on Thursday. Those are families, all from Wisconsin, and they come up and say thanks. And it’s not the thanks that you would tell me. It’s the thanks of, ‘Man, my kid’s really been looking forward to this for a long time, since we had camp this summer.’

I told our kids today. Our kids will live until they’re 85. Their playing time is going to be that much and the rest of their life is that much. And so my responsibility is to make sure that when your playing career is over, what you learned from me during your playing career makes the rest of your life better. And I think when you walk out there, and you’re so hyped up and you haven’t played in a week, here we go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go. And you see those kids, can’t walk, can’t talk, some are terminal. You go, ‘Wow, that’s real life.’ That’s one of the reasons, for whatever reason, that God created me and I pray for my children that they would have compassion for those less fortunate. Because look at how we live. We don’t think about that stuff. But those parents wake up to that grind every day.

So it’s the most important thing, in my opinion, that I do. And for however long I’m here, it’s the legacy that I want to leave. I don’t want my name on the court, I don’t want a statue, I don’t want a building. I don’t want any of that. I don’t want any of that. I hope that the relationships that our children on our team will form with those children will help change both children’s lives. That’s it.”

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