ALEDO The football program at Aledo High School, which has become a state powerhouse, will have a new coach on the sidelines this fall.
Tim Buchanan said he's stepping aside to become the full-time athletic director of Aledo Independent School District. Buchanan, who's 54, has been the head coach and athletic director for the past 21 years.
'It's just gotten too hard to do both jobs,' Buchanan said during a phone conversation. 'Doing both jobs is pretty darn hard these days. I just decided over the summer.'
Buchanan's team went 16-0 this past season, winning the Class 4A Division II State championship. It was his fourth state title in five seasons.
The decision comes at an unusual time of the summer since high school football teams, who did not have spring practice, will start workouts next week.
The reason for the late announcement is because Buchanan was a candidate to become president of the Texas High School Coaches Association. If he had been elected, he would have been required to be an active coach. However, since Brenham high coach Glen West was elected, Buchanan was free to move on.
'We started talking about it back in March,' Buchanan said. 'I wasn't 100 percent. I talked to Dr (Derek) Citty, the superintendent last week and he said it's done.'
Steve Wood, who has been Buchanan's defensive coordinator since 2002, will become the interim head coach. The job will be posted at the end of the season.
'I have the utmost confidence in Coach Wood to lead the Bearcat football program during the 2014 season, and look forward to the success he and the players will bring to the Bearcat Nation this fall,' Citty said in a statement. 'Further, I congratulate Coach Buchanan. He has been a tremendously successful member of the Aledo community for many years, and I look forward to the continued successes we will experience under his direction as the full-time athletic director.'
Buchanan says the workload had become too much for one man to handle. 'It became difficult to be a good AD and a good football coach,' Buchanan said. 'In the spring it wasn't quite as hard but it was still pretty hard. Its seven days a week. I work 10 to 14 hour days, even on Sunday.'
'The more success you have the more you have to do,' Buchanan said. 'Facility wise, trying to manage all the facilities and the budgets, over $1 million total budget with travel, supplies payroll, paying officials and workers, it's like running a multimillion dollar corporation.'
During his career at Aledo, Buchanan won five state titles. His first came in 1998 when Aledo won the 3A Division I title. He won three in a row when running back Johnathan Gray, now at Texas, was on the team. Gray established a national high school career record with 205 touchdowns and finished second all-time nationally in points scored.
Last fall, Buchanan's team won another state title, his fifth, which may have been even more special to him since he coached his son on that team. 'Having my son on the team and winning a state championship with him was probably the biggest highlight,' Buchanan said.
Not to be forgotten is the story last fall when Buchanan and Aledo made national headlines when his team beat Fort Worth Western Hills 91-0. Bullying charges soon followed but he and his program were cleared one week later.
'It was such a mess,' Buchanan said. 'That was the longest day of my life.'
Buchanan says the thing he will miss most is seeing guys 20 years later and seeing them become a good dad and good husbands because of what they learned from him. 'That's the highlight of a coach,' Buchanan said.