19 Jan #MeetTheFamily: “Big Fred” Wasson
I’m originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma and the way I first met Buzz was through a mutual friend by the name of Bill Pope, who has a made a career in the NBA as an assistant coach. Bill had met Buzz when they were both working at junior colleges, Buzz was a student manager at Navarro and Bill was an assistant coach at Kilgore College. They both were ahead of their time and very aggressive, they knew this was their path and they kept running into each other so they became really good friends.
After Buzz got his first college coaching job at UT-Arlington making a whopping $12,000 a year and it got time for summer recruiting Buzz called Bill Pope to ask him where he ought to go on his first recruiting trip and he told him he needed to come to Tulsa, OK and meet Fred Wasson.
So I was set to play at 11 o’clock in the tourney down there and when Buzz Williams contacted me I told him we played at 11, and that I’d probably be there around 9. I got there at 9 and Buzz had already been there 30 minutes, which is very typical of Buzz. So we got to visit, he was just a great kid, anyone would be proud to be his parent. At the end of the day I said to Buzz, “do you know where your hotel is?” and he pointed right over there to his car, and I told him “son, this is Tulsa, Oklahoma we don’t sleep in our car.”
I took him home to stay with us, I had always been a big reader and had a decent library so when I opened the door and Buzz saw that shelf of books, we had something working there right away. I ended up giving him some books that I thought would help him, and Buzz ended up staying with me for four days!
So that’s what started it, God had his hand in it, it was a mentoring relationship, but I was probably getting mentored more than he was! Even though I’m twenty five years older than him, I was learning a lot too.
That’s kind of how it got really started and it has just continued to this day. Buzz has been an unbelievable blessing to me, from the time he was right out of college and I first met him to his wedding when Corey and him got married. At that point I knew him pretty well, but we’re sitting there waiting for the organ to start playing and here comes the bride, but I look up and next thing I know there stands Buzz in front of everyone. Buzz made a speech to Corey’s mother and her family about how much he loved her and how he was going to take care of her. And everything he said that day is exactly what he’s done, but that can be said about everything Buzz does, when he tells you he’s going to do something, you can take that to the bank!