When you think of Duke coaches at the Olympics, your fist thought is probably the current men’s basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski. But there is another Duke coach who inspired some of the brightest names in American athletics during the 1970s and ‘80s.
His name is Al Buehler, and you will be able to watch his story Friday.
During his career coaching track and field, Al teamed up with another legendary Durham track and field coach, the late Dr. LeRoy Walker of NCCU, to ease tensions among races and promote gender equality in sports.
Coach Buehler was a coach or manager at the 1972, 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games where he worked with athletes, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Carl Lewis, who share personal stories of their experiences with Buehler in the documentary.
Starting at the Finish Line: The Coach Buehler Story premieres on Netflix this Friday, the day of the Olympic opening ceremony. The documentary is directed by Amy Unell and produced and narrated by Grant Hill.
Under Coach Buehler's leadership, Duke cross country had a golden age from 1970 through 1975, when six consecutive individual titles in the ACC men’s cross country championships and three team titles came to the university.
Al gave up his coaching responsibilities in 2000. There's a trail named for him around the perimeter of the Washington Duke Golf Course and he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this years U.S. Olympic Trials by USA Track and Field. He currently teaches a History and Issues of Sports class at Duke, where he'll celebrate his 58th year of teaching this fall.