Vestavia Hills High football coach Buddy Anderson, the winningest high school football coach in Alabama, was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Association Hall of Fame on July 2 during a banquet in Chicago.
Anderson, who is beginning his 41st season as head football coach at Vestavia Hills in August, was among 22 enshrined in the National Hall of Fame this year. He is the 12th individual from Alabama to be inducted into the National Hall of Fame.
“Buddy Anderson is a man of faith and character who has been an important mentor to many others along the way,” said Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese, according to a statement from the AHSAA. “He is a shining example of the kind of positive impact coaches have on the lives of the student-athletes they serve.”
Anderson’s wife, Linda, their children and grandchildren where among a large contingent on hand for the induction.
Anderson has compiled a 329-146 overall head-coaching record in 40 seasons at Vestavia Hills, winning the Class 4A state title in 1980 and the Class 6A state championship in 1997 on a 15-0 record. His teams have advanced to the state playoffs 30 times with a 47-28 playoff mark and in 22 years has won nine or more games in the AHSAA’s large-school class. Anderson’s father, Dovey Anderson, was 182-81-5 as a prep head football coach in 31 seasons, all at Thomasville.
Both dad and son are in the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame and won 511 football games between them, the most in state history. Both attended Samford University and the elder competed in the first game ever played at Legion Field, in 1927.
The younger Anderson was hired as an assistant coach at Vestavia in 1972 and was elevated to head coach in 1978.
Anderson was among 11 people enshrined this month. The others were track athlete Dick Fosbury, Oregon; former Nebraska head football coach Tom Osborne athlete; former WNBA and Stanford basketball star Nicole Powell, Arizona, distance runner Carrie Tollefson, Minnesota; soccer coach Miller Bugliari, New Jersey; swimming coach Jeff Meister, Hawaii; ice hockey coach William O’Neil, Vermont; contest official Roger “Smokey” Barr, Iowa; retired Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Executive Director Richard Neal; and choral coach William Zurkey, Ohio.
Anderson, who received the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s “Frank ‘Pig’ House Award in 2014 and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Award in 2016, was humbled by the induction.
“I was very fortunate to grow up in a coach’s home,” he said. “My father was a high school football coach for 31 years. I saw the relationship my dad had with his players, his fellow coaches and teachers. I just went to my own 50th high school reunion and picked right up where I left off with my classmates and those I played sports with. Seeing them, all now in their 60’s, and seeing the kind of men they grew into reminded me of the coaches I worked with, most of them for more than 30 years, and the many players I have had the opportunity to coach. It also reiterated that we are in the relationship business.”
Anderson, the only coach in AHSAA history to win 300 games at one school, is just the latest Alabamian inducted in the National Hall of Fame. Alabamians already in the hall, with the high school and college they attended, are:
Administrators – 1987: Cliff Harper, Moore Academy in Pineapple, Birmingham-Southern; 1990: Herman L. “Bubba” Scott, Autauga County in Prattville, Troy State; 2011: Dan Washburn, LaFayette, Chattanooga.
Coaches – 1992: Mickey “Guy” O’Brien, Tallapoosa County in Dadeville, Auburn University; 1999: Glenn Daniel, A.A. Parrish in Selma; Livingston; 2013: James “Jim” Tate, UMS in Mobile, Citadel; 2018: Dovey “Buddy” Anderson, Thomasville, Samford.
Athletes – 1989: Bart Starr, Sidney Lanier in Montgomery, University of Alabama; 2012: Pat Sullivan, John Carroll in Birmingham, Auburn; 2014: Ozzie Newsome, Colbert County in Leighton.
Officials – 1988: Dan Gaylord, Phillips in Birmingham, Howard College; 2007: Sam Short, West End in Birmingham, Western Kentucky.