BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - One element has remained constant as we gear up for our 32nd season of Sideline, and that’s Buddy Anderson as the Head Football Coach at Vestavia Hills. But after this season, that will all change.
“God’s blessed me, he called me to be a coach January 12th, 1968,” said Anderson.
Coaching football is what Anderson has done almost his entire life, but after 49 years at Vestavia Hills as an assistant and head coach, he said it’s now time for him to move on.
“You know for my family it’s just, it’s not an easy decision because it’s something you’ve done all your life,” Anderson said.
Anderson told his team Monday that he will retire after the 2020 season.
“It was definitely a surprise, I don’t think anyone was expecting it, I don’t think anyone was,” said defensive tackle Michael Lawrence.
“I mean it was really sad because I mean he’s a great coach, but I’m just happy he’s here for my last year,” said quarterback Braden Glenn.
Anderson has compiled 342 wins at Vestavia, making him the winning-est coach in Alabama. He said his love for Vestavia all started under Thompson “Mutt” Reynolds, who hired him as an assistant coach in 1972.
“He was one of my mentors, like a second father to me. My father was a high school coach, Coach Reynolds was very similar. To be in their legacy, it’s very meaningful,” Anderson said.
With two state titles and numerous awards, Anderson will coach the Rebels for a final season this fall. Although the Vestavia field is named after him, Anderson said it’s not about the game, it’s about the lives of the kids he’s touched.
“He’s very sincere, someone who will push you as far as you can go to see you become the best person possible, the best version of yourself," said Lawrence.
“He teaches us to be better men everyday, and that’s the thing I love about him," added Glenn.
Anderson is set to retire after the 2020 football season, but said he will continue to be part of the school system as a mentor.