BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - After 43 years as Vestavia Hills, Head Coach Buddy Anderson will coach his last game Friday night before he retires.
“It’s going to be emotional,” Anderson said.
Buddy Anderson is a name that means many things. For his former players: "He’s like a grandfather to me,” said Robert Evans, who played on Coach Anderson’s 1998 state championship team.
To coaches on the opposing sideline: “Buddy has always set a precedent in doing things the right way in this state," said Hoover head coach Josh Niblett.
Despite his incredible coaching record, Anderson’s legacy is one that goes beyond the football field and the X’s and O’s.
“What most people don’t know is there’s been countless kids through the years who have been at his house for Bible study on Wednesday nights and some of my most cherished moments in high school come from his living room and hearing the word of God," Evans said.
From an assistant coach to head coach, Buddy Anderson has been at Vestavia for 49 years. He’s walked up and down the sidelines countless times, and those close to him believe his presence on the field can never be replaced.
“One thing I’ll miss the most is how ticked off he would get at the refs," said Evans.
“He showed me how you can be competitive. How he’d get after a referee, it was OK to do that, it showed me you can do it the right way, but you can still be intense and be competitive and that’s what I’ve loved about him," said Niblett.
“He is high school football and I’m just trying to think about what the sidelines will be like without him and it’s hard to do for me," said Chris Yeager at Mountain Brook. “He’s been my mentor ever since I got the job at Mountain Brook.”
With 345 wins under his belt, a football field named after him, two state championships along with numerous awards, Buddy Anderson will retire Friday as the winningest coach in Alabama.
Vestavia’s final game of the season is Friday as the Rebels host Shades Valley in a non-region game.