Aledo’s Tim Buchanan will move to a role as full-time athletic director, stepping down from his 21-year run as the Bearcats‘ head football coach, the district announced Thursday.
Buchanan, who led the Bearcats to five UIL state titles including last December’s Class 4A Division II championship, has coached at Aledo since 1993. Defensive coordinator Steve Wood has been named the interim head coach. Wood joined Buchanan’s staff in 2002.
The Bearcats, along with most schools around the district, are expected to begin fall practices Aug. 11.
Buchanan said he and Aledo schools Superintendent Derek 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.”
BUCHANAN BY THE NUMBERS
5State championships 1998, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013
4State semifinals 1997, 2004, 2006, 2007
18Consecutive playoff appearances