A LEGENDARY LEGACY: AFTER 43 YEARS, VESTAVIA HILLS FOOTBALL COACH IS RETIRING
The 2020-21 high school football season will be the 43rd for Vestavia Hills High School football coach Buddy Anderson. It will also be his last.
Anderson is heading into the season with a state record 342 wins since becoming head coach in 1978. That year he led the team to its first 10-win season in history. He happens to have 19 more than beloved University of Alabama football coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant had in his entire career, which can only mean one thing.
“It means I’ve been coaching a long time,” Anderson said. “It means I’ve been fortunate to have coached a lot of great kids and a lot of families have touched my life. Every one of them has touched my life in some way.”
Over the course of his coaching career, Anderson led the Rebels through ups and downs, including the highest of highs during the program’s two state championships in 1980 and 1998.
To give you an idea of how much the game has changed while Anderson’s has been coaching, that 1980 championship game saw Vestavia attempt five passes with four completions for 22 yards and an interception. They ran for 254 yards in the game and won 15-13 over Parker.
The 1998 season saw Anderson lead the team to a 15-0 record and a championship win over Vigor, but he said that while the two championship teams are special to him, all his teams are.
“Those teams were special to me, but you know what? All of them have been special,” Anderson said. “I’m as close with some teams that went 2-8 and gave it everything they got and really improved through the year.”
Even though Anderson’s retirement is undoubtedly on the minds of his team and their fans this season, he only wants one thing.
“This season I want it to be about these kids because this is this team’s time to have their season just like all the others,” he said. “I don’t want it to be about me. It needs to be about these kids and this team, one week at a time, all the way through the season.”
When Anderson walks off the field that bears his name for the last time this season, he’ll be doing it as one of the best coaches to ever do it. And he’ll be leaving behind a legendary legacy regardless of the outcome of the season.
Vestavia starts their season Aug. 21 against Mountain Brook.