Over the Labor Day weekend, Coach Theodore Anderson Jr. got together with Hamilton High School Alumni for a mass class reunion celebration.
“It looks like he had a ball,” said Teresa Cansler, class of ’74. “There are photos posted all over social media of ‘Coach A’ doing one of the things he loved, and that was enjoying time with students, past and present.”
One day later (Sept. 7), Pastor Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. posted on The New Olivet Worship Center Facebook page at 10:16 p.m.:
“OLIVES: Pray for Seasoned Olive Director Deacon Nicolet Anderson’s Husband Coach Ted Anderson RIGHT NOW.”
Anderson, 77, died later that night. A celebration of his life was held Friday morning (Sept. 17) in Binghampton at First Baptist Church-Broad Street, where the Rev. Dr. Keith Norman is pastor. The Rev. Dr. Whalum delivered the eulogy.
“My personal interactions with Coach stem from my eight years as Memphis City Schools Commissioner,” said Whalum, during an exchange with The New Tri-State Defender about Coach Anderson’s legacy.
“He was ‘The Man’ for all things athletic. But our real connection…had to do with educating Black boys.
“We cussed a lot under our breath about dumb, smart people who had no clue about discipline and tough love. Corporal punishment was our common interest.”
Former students, long-time friends and colleagues flooded online platforms with tributes and expressions of sympathy for Anderson’s family.
Coach Roosevelt Hancock, head football coach at Hamilton High School, reflected on how Anderson came to be the head basketball coach in the “mid-to-late ’70s.”
“Peanut was a staunch Hamiltonian and a strong Hamilton supporter,” said Hancock. “He graduated in the class of ’64, and he was very active in the Hamilton High School Alumni Association.
“When Coach Lloyd Williams left the head basketball coach position and went into administration, he recommended to our principal, Mr. Oliver Johnson, that Peanut succeed him. Peanut had played for Coach Williams when he was a student.”
Hancock said Anderson showed up and dressed out for every football game.
“Coach Anderson would come out and help on the sidelines for every game,” said Hancock. “Even on the road, he assisted however he could to make sure things were going smoothly with the team. He dressed like the football staff was dressed as a show of unity.
“Home games, out of town, every game, every year, he was right there. All of our students loved him and the team spirit he always exhibited.”
LeMoyne-Owen College Athletic Director William Anderson said Ted Anderson was a great mentor and a friend.
“People always thought because we had the same last name, that he was my dad,” said Anderson. “We were no relation, but we had a close relationship.
“While I was still a student in school, I started coaching grassroots basketball in the Amateur Athletic Union. He was a confidante; someone I could talk to from the very first.”
LOC’s Anderson said Hamilton High was one of the select Nike Elite Youth schools, and that he worked with Coach Anderson at Hamilton.
“Nike would sponsor uniforms, shoes, and gear for high school players,” said Anderson. “Ted Anderson treated every student like they were his own. I think that’s why they loved him so much.”
Coach Anderson retired in 2016 with 518 wins overall, in nearly 40 years of coaching. Most of those years were spent at Hamilton, where his 1991 team won a state title.
He later also called Fredrick Douglass High school “home,” taking to Douglass his ongoing commitment to help transform lives.
Coach “A” leaves his wife, Nicolet Anderson; his children, Sandra Anderson, Darrell (Tamara) Anderson, Todd (Brenda) Day and Marinda Anderson; a sister, Selestine Anderson; and eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, four brothers-in-law and four sisters-in-law.
The cause of death had not been released at TSD press time. E.H. Ford Mortuary had charge.