Tim Buchanan stepped away from coaching after 21 years in 2014. He became Aledo’s full-time athletic director while Steve Wood replaced him, but after two months, he felt he made a mistake.
“I’m a coach,” he thought.
Five years later and the return of “Coach Buc” is here after the school district announced on Thursday that Buchanan would once again be Aledo’s head football coach, pending the board’s approval on Jan. 22, while Wood would become the AD. The change would be effective on Jan. 28.
“Everyone that knows me knew that I missed coaching,” Buchanan said.
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Buchanan, who arrived at Aledo in 1993, compiled a 227-53-3 record with five state titles (1998, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013).
Wood went 75-4 in five years with three titles and four final appearances. The Bearcats beat Fort Bend Marshall in December, 55-19, to win their eighth championship, tying a UIL record for most all-time.
“Steve isn’t just a good football coach, but he was a good basketball coach, a good track coach – you could roll any ball at him and he’d be a good coach,” Buchanan said. “He was excited to be athletic director and the athletic programs are going to get better. I’m tickled to death and excited to work for a guy like Steve.”
Buchanan announced his retirement from the AD position last summer while Wood made his decision during the season. However, Wood didn’t want to take anything away from the fall, so intense talks began in December.
“I didn’t want to be the AD anymore and when Steve decided on the job, our superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn talked to me about coaching again,” Buchanan said. “She asked if I wanted this job and I said certainly, if you give it to me, and that got the ball rolling.”
After 37 years of coaching and 17 years at Aledo, Wood said he couldn’t pass up the offer.
“I pretty much made my mind up earlier in the season, but I just wanted to coach the best season and not look back,” he said. “I was fortunate that the job was available and they were interested in me having it. I think it was the ultimate transition and it couldn’t go any smoother.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s something new and change is good for people. I would consider myself to be driven and I’m driven to be the AD. I’m very loyal to Aledo and it’s a way for me to protect a great place and to improve it.”
Buchanan said he wanted to get back into coaching and had looked around. He had three schools interested in him, but all to be a head coach and AD, which he didn’t want.
Retirement was still the plan and he even had another job, selling turf with Paragon Sports Constructors.
“We needed a JV tennis coach so I coached tennis for two falls, that’s how much I missed coaching, and it was the most fun I had the past five years,” Buchanan said. “It’s just different getting to coach football again. I’ve woke up the past couple mornings and felt more excited than ever before.
“I had three offers, but I only wanted to be the HFC. It was all dependent of who the AD was too and I’ll have the right AD here.”
“Coach Buc created this thing around here and I told him several times, if you want to be head coach again, I don’t have to, I’ll be your defensive coordinator,” Wood added. “But you know what, it all worked out the best way possible and we’re excited.”
The two coaches broke the news to their players and coaches on Thursday morning.
“It was easier for me to go in there and say ‘I won’t be your coach next year, but coach Buc is going to coach’ and the kids were excited,” Wood said. “The juniors this year were only seventh graders when he left so they know coach Buc, but they don’t really know him. It’s going to be good. He loves kids and they’re going to love him.”
“Most of them don’t remember me as a coach so building those new relationships will be fun,” Buchanan added.
As far as coaching again for Wood, he didn’t rule it out. But he did say the past five years have been a perfect storm.
“It’s entered my mind and I’ll miss it, but I know if I didn’t take the AD job, they were going to find someone else,” Wood said. “I wish I could have won two more titles for those kids. We’ve had unbelievable kids come through here. It’s a unique place and I’m happy I got to be a small part of it. I hope now I can help some other programs.”
Jumping ahead to next season, Aledo will be the favorite again with 5-star RB Jase McClellan, QB Jake Bishop and WR JoJo Earle among the key players coming back.
“We’re going to continue to get better every day as a student and athlete, that’ll be our motto,” Buchanan said. “I’m thankful for Steve and Susan for this opportunity. When I got to Aledo in 1993, all but 17 kids were playing football. I have spent half my life here and to see what it’s become, to be able to remain a part of it and now return to coach football, it’s amazing and I’m excited.”