Last week Buddy Anderson of Vestavia Hills was selected to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. This Hall of Fame is administered by the National Federation of State High School Associations. As a high school coach, there is no greater honor.
Buddy Anderson is very uncommon when it comes to high school football coaches in the year 2018. The son of a coach, he is “old school” in many ways. This includes his offense, where he has run the “I” formation for all of these years and made it an art form. He has taken on some of the state’s great teams and never flinched. Buddy can serve up a vocal gem at any moment with a southern drawl that makes you wonder if he is football coach or Baptist preacher. Sometimes he is both.
Buddy came to Vestavia Hills in the early 70’s, right out of Samford University. He became the head coach in 1978. He has never left. In a day when coaches seem to jump from one job to the other, he stayed. He has built a legacy that only true Vestavia Rebels can appreciate.
Buddy Anderson became a football coach because he believed it was God’s will for him to coach. He has remained faithful for over 40 years, and “God has been faithful to me,” he says. Every bit the competitor, his desire to win is strong. But it is not stronger than his character. He has stood for the right things for his school and community, even when it hurt to do so.
Buddy Anderson must be a good man to work for, because his staff stayed for years. He must be a good man to play for, because his Rebel teams always play hard. But the best thing about Buddy Anderson is that he did it his way, and he did it with class and integrity.
Which coach of the new generation of coaches will be Buddy Anderson? You can’t ignore the rules and be Buddy Anderson. You can’t cuss the players and be Buddy Anderson. You can’t ignore the sportsmanship of your players and be Buddy Anderson. You can’t treat fellow coaches and officials with a lack of respect and be Buddy Anderson.
Coach Anderson is the standard of the best coaches to ever coach this game in our state. Not because of his record of being the state’s winningest coach, but because of the way he did it. But he will not coach forever. Someone must take his place.
Here is a “thank you” to Buddy from the Alabama Football Coaches Association for being a great example of the best our profession has to offer. And here is a prayer that there are some more Buddys out there, who have courage enough to stand for what is right in our game.