Starting at the Finish Line
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The sign on his office door simply says “Track & Field Coach.” His life says infinitely more.
Coach Al Buehler has touched and enriched the lives of countless athletes, students, and others, including Olympians John Carlos and Carl Lewis, sports icons Mary Decker Slaney, Shane Battier, and Ellison Goodall Bishop (the first woman to run at Duke)—and thousands more who have never owned a pair of track shoes.
Coach Al Buehler believes that finish lines are something to prepare for; and in his world, they should be a place to begin.
Buehler is the consummate professor-athlete-coach. Following a stellar college track career at the University of Maryland, he came to Duke University in 1955 and has since coached thousands of track-and-field and cross-country athletes at the biggest moments in sports from the NCAA Championships to World Indoor Track Championships to the Olympic Games. Coach Buehler is the longest-term teaching professor and coach in the history of Duke as well as one of the most successful, with a long roster of All-Americans, six ACC championship teams, seven Penn Relay champions, and multiple Olympians to his credit.
At a campus still segregated by race and gender, Buehler was an early and ardent advocate for both desegregation and Title IX. Amongst the many accolades and honors that he has received, he is a recipient of the Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award.
At heart, Coach Buehler is a mentor. And Starting at the Finish Line embodies his advice and memorable “Coachables”—along with commentary and insights by a host of notables, from Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Jackie Joyner-Kersee to Carl Lewis and Joan Benoit Samuelson—that have inspired, motivated, and educated athletes and students alike to play with integrity and heart—both on and off the track.