A Coach Al Story

During my sophomore year and Al's last (‘77) at MU, Coach used to have me run errands for him using his car during practice. He gave me an address and told me to go pick up a butcher block. Al was a collector of items we would never think of collecting in our lifetime.

Coach gave me $95 and told me the butcher block would cost $75 and that I should bring back the change--if any problems, call him in the Trainers Room (in old gym) and he would leave practice and talk to me. I knew the city pretty well. When I looked at the address, I knew it wasn't in the best part of town. When I arrived at this corner store, which sold meat and other small groceries, two big burly men asked if I was lost or just crazy. These men worked at the store and wore soiled aprons. I told them I was there for the butcher block for Coach Al. They just laughed and had no idea what I was referring to. When I mentioned $75, their interest peaked. They both said, "Oh, that butcher block," and pointed to a butcher block that was still being used behind the counter. They said they would sell the block for $135. I told them I would have to call Coach Al. I called the Trainers Room from a phone in the store and asked Bob (Buff) Weingart to get Coach and have him come down from the practice floor to the phone. Coach got on the phone and I told him they wanted $135 for the block. He told me to offer them $75 and two tickets to the upcoming Classic Tournament. The guy says, "$125 and no tickets." I said, "Coach, you talk to them." Coach says, "I don't have the time. Offer them $85 and two tickets." The guy says, "$115 and no tickets." Coach says to me, "Offer $95 and two tickets." The guy counters with $110 and two tickets. Coach says, "Final offer. Tell them $95 and four tickets to the Classic. Tickets will be at the Will Call Window." The two guys think about it and say, "You got yourself a butcher block." I take the dirty and smelly block as is and head for the car that I hope is still there. Moral of the story: Coach Al was never going to go above $95. How he knew they had a butcher block and that they would sell it . . . who knows.

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