Coach Ed Scoley believes in fitness so decides it would be better if the less athletic inclined have their own class. Lucas believes that would ostracise the students to separate them and takes issue with Scoley's decision.
Lucas is battling the grief he feels as the anniversary of his wife and son's death approaches. A chance encounter with his former father-in-law resurrects past issues forcing Tanner to deal with them over Christmas.
Steve, a gifted athlete, receives an offer to turn professional that would aid his family financially. He bombarded with advice on what to do and turns to Lucas Tanner to help him make the right decision.
Free spirited art student Rod Jernigan clashes often with unhappy by the book instructor Bert Nevins. When one of their disagreements turns physical Tanner is brought in to find out what actually happened.
Lucas meets Bobbie, a black youth eager for the education he can get at Truman H.S. Tanner encourages him but Bobbie's older brother Spence is adamantly opposed. He believes his sibling should stay in their neighborhood..
The Haileys are a devoted family but the parents tragically die in a car accident. The authorities decide it's best if the four children are split but Lucas Tanner fights for the siblings to stay together as they wish to be.