by Samantha Olson
After more than 40 years of leading Lopez Island’s basketball teams, MR Buffum has retired.
On Jan. 6, The Pack, Lopez Island’s non-profit booster club, held a ceremony following the boys’ basketball game vs. Cedar Park — and what a game it was. Lopez ended up losing a close one at the end but Buffum was the star of the night.
Buffum was born and raised on Lopez. He played basketball and other sports for the Lobos. He started his coaching career in 1975-76, his senior year of high school, as the girls’ coach. This started his nearly 45-year coaching career for Lobos basketball.
His first trip to state was with the Lady Lobos in 1982. His next trip would be with his 2010 boys team and again in 2019.
The celebration had the gym packed! His two sons, Jason and Alex, who both played for him, were able to surprise him as well as many alumni, friends and community members. Alex and Jason as well as his Athletic Director Niece Marina Mejlaender, spoke to the crowd about their time growing up and playing under him. The Pack presented him with a plaque and many other gifts to show their appreciation. They hung a banner with pictures of every year he coached.
Forty-five years is an amazing commitment. We felt that we needed to celebrate that level of dedication. The time and impact he has had, not just on Lobos Basketball, but on each and every player he has coached and mentored in the gym, is priceless. The Pack has requested that the gym be named after him and hopes to hear back soon. We can’t think of anyone more deserving.
Even after all he has given his response was: “I couldn’t have done it without all these people.”
It’s important to celebrate and hold up those who give so much of their time and effort to our children and our sports. Thank you to Buffum for all of his years of service, and thank you to all those who came and made this such a special night for him.