If Kevin Costner had remained at Ventura's Buena High School instead of moving, the 5-foot, 2-inch point guard on the 1970 "C" basketball team may have made a name for himself at the school, his former coach said Tuesday.
Costner, who eventually made his mark anyway as an Academy Award-winning director, will get a second chance to star on a Buena High basketball team next week when he plays in a charity game.
Costner will play for the alumni against the Bulldogs' varsity boys team Dec. 23, after a game between the varsity girls team and an alumni squad that begins at 6:30 p.m.
The actor-director was a scrappy basketball player for the Bulldog "C" team in 1970 before his family moved out of the area, said Joe Vaughan, the school's athletic director, who coached Costner during his Buena season.
"Kevin averaged nine points a game and was our team captain," Vaughan said. "He was a very good athlete and a fierce competitor."
Costner eventually sprouted to 6-foot-1 and now plays pickup games on a full court he had built at his La Canada Flintridge home. Last summer, Costner played half-court games at the Buena gym during visits nearby.
Vaughan, who has remained close to Costner, said Costner has talked about playing in an alumni game before and was happy to accept the invitation.
Proceeds from the $5-a-ticket doubleheader will help the girls' team participate in the Christ the King High School National Girls Basketball Tournament in New York beginning Dec. 26 and help pay expenses for the boys' program during the summer.
Tickets went on sale for students and faculty Tuesday, and by early afternoon, 600 had been sold for the 1,400-capacity gymnasium where the games will be played. Students and teachers will be able to purchase tickets again today, but are limited to a single ticket each, Vaughan said.
If any tickets are still available Thursday, the public will be allowed to purchase up to five tickets each.
"We'll probably be sold out by then," Vaughan said. He asked that before visiting the school, people interested in buying tickets call him at 642-2156 to see if any are available.
Vaughan said the school will make a special effort to create a family atmosphere at the charity game. "We want to make it an enjoyable game for Kevin," he said. "It's tough for someone in his position to have a normal experience."