TIGERVILLE, SC—North Greenville University head softball coach Buster Sturkie passed away early Tuesday morning in his home.
Sturkie, 59, had been battling cancer since last season, but kept all his duties as head softball coach. He conducted every practice and was in the dugout for the all nine of the Crusaders’ games this season.
“We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Coach B,” said North Greenville athletics director Jan McDonald. “We extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family.
“The one thing about Coach B is that although he had an illness, you wouldn’t know it,” McDonald said. “He came to work every day and gave 100% to his girls and to North Greenville softball, and that’s just the way he was going to do it.
“He certainly had our softball program going in the right direction, but the biggest thing I can say about him is that he loved his players and they loved him,” McDonald added.
“Our focus now will be on our players and helping them heal,” said McDonald.
Sturkie has been the head softball coach at North Greenville since 2003-04 and has compiled a record of 29-104-1 in five seasons. His overall collegiate record is 52-127-1.
Prior to coming to North Greenville, Sturkie owned and operated the Coach "B" Softball Academy that catered to high school and intercollegiate pitchers. He coached as an assistant and head coach at Presbyterian College and as an assistant at the University of South Carolina Upstate.
Sturkie was involved in fast pitch softball since 1959. He played fast pitch softball while serving in the United States Army from 1969-1971. He participated in over 3,800 fast pitch softball games either as a player or a coach.
Sturkie experienced tremendous success in softball. He won four championships in girl's fast pitch softball between 1977-1994, while being the state runner-up in both 1997 and 1998. Sturkie won 12 state championships in men's and women's fast pitch, eight southeast men's championships, and four southeast women's championships. He participated in three national men's fast pitch championships and three women's national championships.
Sturkie was inducted into both the South Carolina Softball Hall of Fame and South Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004.
A native of Camden, SC, Sturkie lived in Chapin, SC. He is survived by his wife, Becky, and two children, Stacey and Clay.