For the past 25 years, Tim Buchanan built Aledo football into a dynasty.
As head coach for the first 21 years, his Bearcats won five UIL state titles, appeared in the state semifinals four other times and won 227 games. Aledo also won football state titles in 2014 and 2016 while Buchanan was athletic director.
On Tuesday, the longtime educator announced his retirement.
“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, 57, said in a statement from the school district. “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.”
A native of Killeen, Buchanan arrived on the scene in 1993. It didn’t take long for Aledo to turn into a playoff regular, and the Bearcats haven’t missed a postseason since 1996.
Buchanan would guide Aledo to the state semifinals in 1997 and win the state championship in 1998.
The state titles took a break for nearly a decade, but Aledo still made the state semifinals in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
In 2009, the Bearcats started one of the best runs in Texas high school football history.
“He’s done a lot for Aledo, for me and my family,” said former Aledo running back Johnathan Gray said. “I’m really appreciative of him and he’ll go down as one of the best high school coaches to do it.”
With Gray, a two-time Landry Award winner and one of the all-time greatest high school players, Aledo went on to win state titles in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
“He meant everything for Aledo, from what it was when he got here to what it is now – the football stadium, all the state championships and the program in general. It’s unbelievable,” said Aledo coach Steve Wood.
Wood was Buchanan’s defensive coordinator for 12 seasons before taking over the team in 2014. Buchanan stepped away from coaching, but was the athletic director for the past four years. Wood’s teams won state titles in 2014 and 2016.
“He certainly means everything to me,” Wood said. “He gave my family a place they could call home and I can never thank him enough for what he does for everyone.”
In 2013, the Bearcats made history by finishing 16-0 and setting a national single-season record for points scored with 1,023.
But it wasn’t all good that year.
Buchanan was met with a formal bullying complaint the next morning, sparking a media frenzy that led to his appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Fox News, CBS, NBC and Sports Illustrated were just a few of the national outlets to pick up the story.
Five days later, Buchanan was cleared.
Despite that bump in the road, Buchanan built Aledo from the ground up and into what it is today. He finished with a 227-53-3 record in 21 seasons.
“He was so involved that I didn’t think he’d retire. So I’m a little shocked, but well deserved for him,” former Aledo volleyball coach Kathy Goings said. “Good luck to Aledo on finding someone as driven and supportive as coach Buchanan was.”
Buchanan hired Goings as volleyball head coach in 1996, where she would spend the next 21 seasons coaching.
“He gave me an opportunity when others may not have. I was never a head coach, but he didn’t bat an eye,” Goings said. “He said ‘you’re hired and I want you here’ and really helped me through my first year when I didn’t know much.”
Buchanan, who will remain at Aledo until the end of the school year, started his career at Florence High School in 1984 and subsequent stops included Bastrop, The Colony, Killeen Ellison and A&M Consolidated.
“He was a great coach. He’d be hard on you and teach you life lessons on and off the field,” Gray said. “He was the dad away from home and his biggest goal was to see his players be successful in life.”
Here’s what others had to say:
Aledo senior defensive lineman James Williams: “This place is nothing without Coach Buc. He was the person that made Aledo what it is today. Not only a great coach and AD, but a great man. When you see that Aledo symbol, he think of him, he created that. His legacy will forever live on here.”
Former Aledo quarterback Dillon Davis: “After we won the 2013 state championship my freshman year, his last year as head coach, he told the entire team in the locker room that winning a state championship is an incredible feat that we should all be extremely proud of. However, he told us to not let it be the greatest thing we ever do in our lives, and that really hit home with me. Being a high school football player in Texas, it’s so easy to forget that there’s so much more to life beyond football and those words continually motivated me throughout my last three years at Aledo and in college.”
Teresa and Brad Craine, parents of former Aledo softball pitcher Lauren Craine: “Coach Buc has instilled in our young athletes what it truly means to be champions on and off the field. Not only does he support all sports, but he supports all things Aledo. Through his encouragement and guidance, he has made our hometown of Aledo known for integrity. His legacy of developing a winning mindset and character will continue to inspire athletes and coaches for years to come. Thank you Coach Buc for the memories. We wish you a happy retirement.”
Aledo girls basketball coach and Aledo 1990 graduate Nikki Hyles: “He meant everything to Aledo and held a consistency all the way through. I was in high school right before he arrived. He had coached my little brother and you could tell he was the first coach to really build and change that program. I’m happy for him, now he’ll be able to do the things he didn’t have time to do, but it will definitely be a different Aledo without him.”
Aledo senior softball player Megan Reynolds: “He epitomized what it means to be a Bearcat. He can be found at any sporting event in any kind of weather, supporting every team and every athlete. He will be missed but we know his blood will always run orange.”
Aledo sophomore basketball player Taylor Morgan: “Coach Buc’s determination to win and build a winning program is inspiring to every athlete at Aledo. Everyone looks up to him not only because of the powerhouse he has built, but because he cares about every individual athlete and student.”