Calera Chamber honors former coach Burdette
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer
CALERA— The Calera Chamber of Commerce honored former Calera High basketball coach Robert Burdette at a meeting held at Timberline Country Club April 15.
Burdette served as the Eagles’ head coach for 17 years, having last served in that capacity during the 2012-2013 season.
Bill Davis, owner of the Sav-Mor Food Outlet and Calera native, spoke about the change in mindset Burdette’s success brought to the town.
“The reason you know we’re all here today is to honor Coach Robert Burdette,” Davis said. “I graduated Calera in 1989, and the legendary Daniel Alverson was our football coach, and we were a football school at that time. All of a sudden, we were a round-ball team going to state playoffs.”
Ken Mobley then took the mic and directly addressed Burdette, thanking him for his service to the school and the community, along with presenting him a plaque.
“Thank you for the memories,” he said. “To think back to 1996, Calera was a lot smaller than it is now. It was a football school back in the ‘70s, ‘80s and then you came along, it was struggling to be anything. You came in and helped young men believe in themselves (at) a tiny 1A school. You helped them think big.“
Burdette spent 27 years as a head coach, including stops at South Lamar and Homewood. His career record sits at 607-210 all time, having captured state championships at the AHSAA Class 1A (Calera in 1996 and 1997), 2A (Calera in 2005) and 3A (South Lamar in 1992) level.
Burdette also had three-consecutive runner-up teams at Calera, from 2002-05, and 19 of the teams he coached captured area titles.
Burdette said he appreciated the honor, but was quick to compliment his players.
“Getting to see some of these people, it’s nice that people recognize your efforts,” he said. “We had good players. We were playing with thoroughbreds. It makes it a lot easier to coach when you have those kinds of players.”
Burdette went on to say he wanted to make sure those in the community knew he didn’t walk away from the game or the school.
“There’s a lot of misconception out there about how all of this ended,” he said. “I didn’t quit.”
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