Over a coaching career that spanned 35 years, Tim Buchanan and winning became as synonymous as Christmas and Santa Claus.
And, judging from the reaction of those who knew him best, he brought just as much joy as has the jolly old elf.
Buchanan announced his retirement, effective at the end of this school year. He spent the past 25 years at Aledo, winning five state football championships before becoming the full-time athletic director in 2014.
Buchanan, or "Coach Buc" as he is known, retired with a career record of 227 wins, 53 losses and three ties, claiming victory in more than 80 percent of his games. His Bearcats teams won state championships in 1998, 2009-11, and 2013.
His 2013 team is the only squad at any level ever to score more than 1,000 points in a season. Also under his leadership, the Bearcats won at least one football playoff game for 18 straight seasons, a streak that has now reached 22 years.
Steve Wood has worked with Coach Buc for 15 years. Before taking over as head football coach upon Buchanan's retirement, he was his defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Wood has won state championships of his own in 2014 and 2016, finishing as 5A Division II runners-up this season.
"He built this program into one of the best anywhere. When someone puts one of those 'A' stickers on their car, it should have 'Buc' written on it," He is a true legend in his profession."
First-year Weatherford Kangaroos football head coach Billy Mathis played for and coached with Buchanan. He was on Buchanan's first teams.
"I have known Buc for 25 years," Mathis said. "I played for him, and then he hired me to coach junior high, and moved me up to be a varsity coach. He has always been there for me and has really helped me along this past year.
"I am excited for him and his journey, but Aledo athletics will never be the same. He brought us from a doormat program to one of the most respected and winningest programs in the country. It all happened because of the passion he coached with and the love he has for his players and coaches."
Ironically, Buchanan, who is only his late 50s, said when he arrived in Aledo, he had no idea it would be the last stop in a coaching career that was really just getting started.
"When we arrived in 1993, Aledo was a place we hoped to stay a few years, but it soon became the place we call home," Buchanan said. "Thank you to the entire community for allowing me to work in the greatest school district in Texas. It has been a pleasure to serve the athletes, students, administration, teachers, parents and community."
Coach Buc's football teams weren't the only successes he oversaw at Aledo. Kathy Goings, who retired as volleyball coach prior to the start of this past season, also created one of the state's premier programs. She said working with Buchanan was a thrill for two decades.
"Best athletic director I have ever worked for. He wanted what was best for all programs," she said. "Aledo will miss the support and drive that Coach Buc had for all sports."
Also under Buchanan's leadership, Aledo teams won state championships in softball in 2008, 2014 and 2015; baseball in 2007; and boys golf in 2007. Prior to his arrival, the only team state championship in school history was the 1978 boys golf squad.
Buchanan started his career at Florence High School in 1984, also having stops in Bastrop, The Colony, Killeen Ellison and A&M Consolidated. Among his many honors, he was named the Texas Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year in 2013, and is a three-time Star-Telegram Coach of the Year (1998, 2000, 2002). In 2016 he was honored with the Bayard H. Friedman Hero Award as part of the Score A Goal In The Classroom School Incentive Program.
"The leadership and vision he brought to our district in 1993 has enhanced and grown the Bearcat tradition," said Aledo Superintendent Dr. Derek Citty. "I look forward to the coming years when Coach Buchanan is sure to be inducted into a number of state and national halls of fame."