Former Murphy High School football coach and principal C.D. “Lefty” Anderson, an Alabama High School Athletic Association Hall of Famer who served as a mentor for younger coaches in Mobile, passed away Thursday at the age of 86.
“Coach Anderson was one of the most respected and known personalities in this county and state,” Mobile County Public Schools Athletic Director Calvin Crist said of Anderson. “When he entered a room everyone would gravitate toward him. Always willing to help and give advice to anyone who needed it. This county will never have another person to come along that meant so much too so many people. He will be missed tremendously.”
Anderson passed away about 9:30 p.m. Thursday at an assisted living facility in Fairhope after a short battle with pneumonia, according to his son, Chuck. He’d also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease through the last several years.
“He was probably the most honest and sincere man I’ll ever know,” Chuck Anderson, a former Baldwin County athletic director, told AL.com of his father. “He was so respected by everyone because of his honesty. I think he worked well with everyone. He crossed all lines. He tried to do the right thing every time. He was just a good man.”
Anderson, a native of Coffeeville, led Murphy to a 32-24-1 record as the Panthers’ head coach from 1963-68, including an 8-1 finish in 1963 and a 9-1 record in 1965, before moving into administration at the school, serving 10 years as assistant principal and principal. He also led Frisco City to a 53-22-4 record before coming to Murphy.
Anderson later served as Mobile County’s athletic director for eight years until his retirement in the early 1990s, and also served for 13 years on the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Central Board of Control. He was involved in the creation of the Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star football game in 1988, and was a 1991 inductee in the AHSAA Hall of Fame.
L’Arche Mobile named its Service Through Coaching Award in Anderson’s honor and presents it annually to active high school football coaches who have a positive impact on young people on and off the field.
Ronn Lee, who served as Murphy’s head football coach from 2004-13, said Anderson’s impact wasn’t just felt by his students and players, however.
“Anytime someone became a head coach in Mobile County – whether it be at Alma Bryant or Theodore or wherever – coach Anderson always was one of the first to call,” Lee told AL.com. “That is one thing that made him so special. He was not just a guy who coached football players. He coached the coaches and continued to do so for most of his life. He was always willing to help you.
“Lefty Anderson cared about high school athletics, about coaches, about players at the deepest level. That is a great legacy.”
Anderson’s family is in the process of making funeral arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to L’Arche Mobile at 151 Ann Street, Mobile, Ala., 36604.