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January 21--  A beloved man and football coach died early today at Community Hospice in Vidalia.

Seventy-six-year old Coach Buck Cravey coached at Vidalia High School for 24 years and led the Vidalia Indians to their only state football championship in 1969.

Tommy Sasser was the team's quarterback the year it went 14-0 and beat Lithonia 7-6 to win the title.

"I played under him three years and coached with him one year.  He cared so much about his players.  He loved winning and football and had a passion for it, but he kept up with his players once they graduated.  He was most concerned about their success in life and that's what impressed me most about Coach Cravey," Sasser said.

Coach Cravey is the only coach in the state to have won state championships in both public schools and private schools.  He was at Pinewood Christian Academy in 1997 when they won the state GISA title.

Coach Cravey was at Vidalia High School from 1967 until 1992.  After that he spent a year at Briarwood Christian Academy and moved to Pinewood in 1994 where he completed his 35 years in coaching in 2003.

He's the 17th winningest coach in Georgia high school football history with a record of 270 wins, 126 losses and four ties.

In 2005, the new football stadium at Vidalia High School was named Buck Cravey Field.  

At the dedication ceremony, Coach Cravey told the crowd, "I've never received an honor which means as much as this one does.  All you people in Vidalia have made this program what it is.  All you players, you are certainly the backbone.  You left your legacy in Vidalia football and the tradition for the program is just getting better and better."

At the time of the dedication, Coach Jason McBride was the head coach at Vidalia.

"I'm doing what I'm doing today because of Coach Cravey.  There are a lot of people out there who are succeeding in life because they played for Buck Cravey," he said.

Funeral arrangements for Coach Cravey will be announced by the Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home of Vidalia.