After successfully doing double duty since 1993, Aledo’s Tim Buchanan has decided to step aside as head football coach to focus on his duties as athletic director for the upcoming school year.
A press release stated that “at his request,” Buchanan wanted more time to be able to focus on the “entire athletic program...as it continues to grow.” Assistant coach Steve Wood will take over as the interim head football coach for the 2014 season.
“I have the utmost confidence in [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,” said Aledo ISD Superintendent Dr. Derek Citty. “He has been a tremendously successful member of the Aledo community for many years.”
Citty also expressed his confidence in Buchanan.
“I look forward to the continued successes we will experience under his direction as the full-time athletic director,” Citty said.
During Buchanan’s time serving as both AD and head football coach, Aledo High School and the district have won five state football championships - including this past season - and Buchanan himself has earned many accolades for his coaching.
Buchanan told the Star-Telgram that he and Citty began discussing a potential move earlier this year. The workload of coaching football during the fall semester — not to mention overseeing workouts and a string of practices in the spring — combined with running the district’s athletic program led to Buchanan’s decision, which he made last week.
Buchanan knew something would have to give.
“It became very difficult to be both a good AD and a good coach with the program that we have here,” Buchanan said. “It’s going to be hard to give up football. I’ve been on the football field since I was 9 years old. But you know, you don’t have enough hours in the day to get [both jobs done]. And there were parts of being AD that weren’t getting done and parts of coaching football that weren’t getting done.”
Buchanan, 54, sent texts and emails to players and parents Thursday afternoon, shortly after Citty announced the change.
Buchanan, a Killeen native, compiled a 227-53-3 record at Aledo, and made the state semifinals four times in addition to state titles in 1998, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. He didn’t rule out coaching again.
“I’ll go find another job [if he misses coaching after a year off],” Buchanan said. “I was looking for a job when I found this one 21 years ago.”
Last year, the Bearcats made national news after beating Fort Worth Western Hills 91-0. Buchanan was met with a formal bullying complaint the next morning, sparking a media frenzy that eventually led to his appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter and interviews with other national outlets. Aledo finished the season 16-0, setting a national single-season record for points scored(1,023).
Buchanan acknowledged to Waco’s ESPN 1660/AM on Thursday that the complaint and subsequent fallout took its toll, calling the days following “hell week.” But that wasn’t the reason for his decision to step down.
“It makes you think, am I doing the right thing? Are we doing everything we could?” Buchanan told the station. “It wears on you. But that’s not why I decided to go straight AD.”
Buchanan’s son Caleb’s graduation from Aledo factored into his stepping down. Caleb Buchanan was the starting center on last year’s team and will play at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., this fall.
“Me knowing that he’s going to leave to go to college and unlike every other parent sending their kids off, I wasn’t going to get to do that because I’m coaching football? And I’m not going to watch any games, because I’m coaching football?” Buchanan said. “I won’t get to watch all of them, but I’ll get to see more as an AD than as a coach.”
Wood has been an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the Bearcats since 2002. Before joining Aledo ISD, he served as the defensive coordinator for Mesquite Poteet High School and also coached at Boswell, Dobie and Calhoun high schools.
“His successful career of 33 years will continue to be an asset for the Bearcats as we look forward to the upcoming season with great excitement,” the press release read.
Wood will begin his duties as the interim head football coach immediately. Fall practices begin Monday.
Star-Telegram writer Ryan Osborne also contributed to this article.