Irvington Commemorates Mr. Buum


Irvington Saga

Coach Buum was one of the first teachers at Irvington and taught from 1962 to 1990.

Andrew Fu, Staff Writer

On Jan. 22, the Fremont Memorial Chapel held a memorial in honor of Mr. Bob Buum, Irvington’s respected track and field coach. Mr. Buum retired in 1990 after having taught in Irvington for almost thirty years and and passed away on January 2018. Buum came to Irvington in 1962 and was one of the first teachers. He helped to start the school and taught Industrial Arts along with cross country and track and field.

Michelle Stone, Irvington’s athletic director, praised Mr. Buum for all his hardwork and dedication in thirty years of teaching.

“I think he was just a really great guy,” Ms. Stone said. “He was one of those hardcore teachers that wouldn’t let you get away with things, but then [would] also give you a hug if you needed a hug.”

The “Buum” course was created by Mr. Buum early in Irvington’s history, though changes were made to the course over time. It was originally referred to as the “Two Mile Run” but was named the “Buum” after Mr. Buum retired in 1990.

Recently, 9th and 10th grade Irvington PE students signed the Buum pole to commemorate the coach and his contribution to the school. A picture of the students standing against the pole was sent to Buum’s family.

While coaching track and field, Mr. Buum created a unique Irvington tradition. Whenever a track student would break a record, the coach’s wife would bake a chocolate cake to celebrate. Coach Stone continues that tradition in remembrance of Mr. Buum.

Mr. Strout, a PE teacher, remembers the early 90s where he met Mr. Buum. Mr. Buum had retired before Strout came to Irvington, but as Buum’s house was right across Irvington’s baseball field, the former coach visited the school in the mornings.
“He used to walk his dog around the track for about fifteen, twenty years,” Mr. Strout said. “He always said hi and was always friendly and nice.”

While Mr. Strout never worked with Buum, he admired the former coach’s dedication to his students.

“His legendary work ethic for creating the Buum, pushing kids to do their best, [and] always walking and exercising himself made him a positive role model,” said Mr. Strout.

In addition, his students looked up to him and admired his direct, down to earth attitude. Ms. Gomez, who went to Irvington during Buum’s teaching days, praised Buum as being a “fun guy” who never made the last person feel last. While she did not have Mr. Buum as a teacher, she remembers that he was strict but very compassionate and that she could genuinely feel his love towards his students.

“The other teachers loved him because Mr. Buum was very straightforward— you knew what you were going to get,” Mr. Strout said. “He was very consistent and treated everyone fairly and with respect. I believe all those teachers, because I respect them and I [myself] have great respect for Coach Buum.”