“provided a lot of free labor for him,” Jay laughs, “Or at least cheap labor!” Buck realized after two years that his heart had never left football, so he moved back to coach the Vidalia Indians. His three sons grew up playing recreation league, and Buck watched from the sidelines. However, once his sons entered high school, Buck was able to coach them their entire high school career. John, a year older than Jay, says, “Jay grew at an early age, so when he was a freshman he was almost as big as he was as a senior.” Because of his size, Jay was starting over his sophomore brother John. Normally, Buck 54 Toombs County Magazine didn’t start freshmen, and a man from the newspaper quickly took notice and asked, “Coach, have you ever started a freshmen before?” Buck quipped, “No. I can’t recall that I have, but I have to sleep in the same bed as this one’s mom every night.” In truth, Buck never played favorites. Jay says, “If everybody else was having to drive a dummy 10 yards, I was having to drive it 15. He wanted to be sure we were doing our part.” As a gifted coach, Buck could take decent athletes and transform them into excellent football players. He knew precisely how to draw out each player’s talent and then some. With her husband coaching and three boys playing, Ann provided critical support for Buck. Football demanded so much of his time and attention, and she was with him every step of the way. Although Buck’s livelihood depended on wins, Ann says, “He wasn’t the type to pray to win, but I was.” Every Friday night before the games, Ann and the boys would get together and pray. And prayer was something Buck brought to his team as well, always uniting the players in prayer before every game. John says, “Dad’s faith guided him, and it was an important part of who he was.” Buck always preached the importance of the team, a sentiment Coach Chompskis continues with the Vidalia Indians to this day. Buck’s passion was to instill character in kids through his relationship with them. A natural servant leader who genuinely cared, he was the man the team looked to in times of trouble. “People just wanted to follow him,” John says. “He had that natural ability.” However, along with that passion came a fire. “There are stories about him ABOVE Ann Cravey receives a commemorative framed photo of the bust on a football Friday night in October. BELOW named after Buck, where he spent many Friday nights leading Vidalia to victory.
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