A Brazil football icon was given his due recently, with his induction into a local organization dedicated to acknowledging athletic greatness.
Earlier this year, Jerry Anderson, who spent a total of 28 years as a player, coach and athletic director in the Brazil/Northview High School system, was honored with an induction into the Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Anderson said he felt a great sense of pride being accepted as an elite talent in the coaching field.
"I feel honored to be a part of (the Hall of Fame class)," Anderson said. "There are a lot of very good men who have been inducted into the society and it's quite an honor to be inducted."
Anderson was nominated by current Northview athletic director Charlie Jackson, who served as an assistant under Anderson for several years, eventually taking over as Knights' head coach after Anderson retired.
Jackson said he enjoyed his time working with Anderson and was happy to help get him inducted into the illustrious society.
"(Coach Anderson's) one of the backbones and one of the most well-known coaches in the area," Jackson said. "He's done a lot in this area and I thought he deserved the honor."
Anderson's contributions in Brazil football began on the playing field, where he was a three-time letterman from 1954-56. His playing career continued after his 1957 graduation from Brazil, as he played as a guard at Indiana University, eventually earning letterman honors at the collegiate level as well.
Then, in 1966, Anderson returned to the area. In his first year back in the area, he took over coaching duties for the freshmen football team, before moving on to coach the varsity roster the next season.
After just one year on the varsity sidelines, Anderson received what seemingly appeared to be an ideal promotion. He was hired as an assistant football and head baseball coach at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute.
However, he soon discovered the collegiate level wasn't where his heart was.
"At the high school level, you can work with boys in their formative years," Anderson said. "In college, most of your players are more highly developed and they are set in their ways. It was a good experience, but in the end, I found I preferred coaching at the high school level."
In 1971, Anderson returned to Brazil and quickly embarked on one of the more lucrative decades the school's athletic program has even seen. The Brazil football team saw great success in the 70s, including 9-1 finishes in 1974, 1975 and 1978.
Football wasn't Anderson's only contribution to the local coaching world, as he also found success as the school's wrestling coach. He also brought that program to prominence with several great years.
The most notable success the wrestling team found was in 1978, when they finished the year as the state's fourth-ranked squad.
Anderson left the wrestling program in 1979, when he took over as the school's athletic director. He did, however, maintain his duties on the sidelines of the school's football and would soon see it through a major transition.
In 1985, Brazil merged with Staunton and Van Buren for the formation of what would become Northview High School.
Anderson said the transition proved to be a difficult one for all parties, but it's one he has seen develop quite nicely.
"It's kind of tough bringing all these communities together," Anderson said. "It's different groups of people who have to get used to each other, but it all turned out OK. Now, here we are 28 years later and all seems to be going well."
The transition was noticeably tough on the football program. Staunton and Van Buren transfer students had no experience playing organized football, as Anderson pointed out this was before the time when organized youth leagues became prominent in the area.
Though the 80s didn't produce the wave of success the 70s did, Anderson said it was still an important time for him as a coach, as it helped him develop new ways to instruct the fundamentals of the game to young men.
"To try and teach the game to new kids was always special to me as it became a good bonding experience," Anderson said. "Reaching outstanding young men always makes for a positive experience, even when you don't win."
The bonding experience even extended to Anderson's own family.
He and his first wife Annette Dalton Anderson had four children, all of whom were affiliated with the football program in one way or another.
His three sons, Kevin, Bart and Trent all played for their dad, while his daughter, Julie Shaw, was a cheerleader.
Anderson finally decided to leave the coaching game for good in 1995. During his tenure, he accumulated a 135-117-3 record. He stayed on as athletic director until 2003, when he walked away from athletics for good.
While he said he will always cherish all his accomplishments on the sideline, Anderson said he never regrets his decision to retire, and is happy that coaching is set firmly in his past.
"I was involved (in coaching) long enough to get my fill," Anderson said. "When I decided to retire, I felt like I'd been involved long enough. I've moved on and I've never looked back."
Since his retirement, Anderson said he has found numerous activities to fill the void coaching left. Activities such as golf, working around the house and partaking in various volunteer activities, such as the Christian Motorcycle Riders.
Despite his retirement, Anderson still plays a prominent role in Northview football, providing color commentary for the Knights as part of the Crossroads Communications radio broadcasts in Terre Haute. And while coaching remains firmly in his past, he said he takes great pride in receiving recognition from the likes of the Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association.
"It's an honor," Anderson said. "I'm happy people took the time to nominate me. I'm just honored."