Andale girls basketball coach Ted Anderson, 53, died of a suspected heart attack in his home late Thursday after he had coached his team to a win earlier that night.
Anderson had spent the last three decades as a successful high school coach in various sports, although girls basketball was the sport he was best known for. He was a four-time coach of the year in his league and won a total of 267 games as head coach at Valley Center and Andale, including a 7-2 start to this season following a 37-32 win at Haven on Thursday.
The Renwick School District announced the sudden passing of Anderson, who was also an English teacher at Andale Middle School, on Friday morning. Funeral arrangements are still being made.
“Ted was a valued teacher, friend, coach and was Renwick through and through,” the statement read. “He will be deeply missed. Please keep his wife Tracy, son Jordan and daughters Jacy and Jillian in your prayers.”
Anderson was a successful girls basketball coach not only because he knew the game better than most coaches, but also because his personality made the game fun for his players.
During his time at Valley Center, he led the Hornets to an undefeated record before a loss in the state tournament. Tessa Konen (Morrow) was the star player during that run and she recalled the special bond she shared with her coach.
It was a bond that lasted past graduation. Konen helped babysit Anderson’s children when they were growing up and Anderson’s oldest daughter, Jacy, was the flower girl in Konen’s wedding. The two were also huge KU basketball fans and another favorite memory of hers was watching the 2008 national championship game together.
“He made everyone really enjoy the game by being really fun and he was just a really, really funny guy,” Konen said. “And then for me personally, I think we uniquely shared a love of the game of basketball and we connected over that and his enthusiasm for the game. He probably put in more time as a high school coach than anyone in the country. He really poured everything he had into the games and it showed you how much he cared.”
After a successful run in Valley Center, Anderson moved to Andale in 2009 and became an assistant under boys coach Jeff Buchanan until he became the head girls coach in 2015. Buchanan recalls fondly of their time working together.
“The guy is just a wealth of information,” Buchanan said. “He has an unbelievable amount of knowledge in basketball and really any sport. I benefited a lot during those six years and even now because he is constantly giving back and wants to do anything he could for other coaches to help grow the game. He truly cared about the students that passed through Andale and the whole community.”
Those who knew Anderson were always impressed by his encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He was always reading a book, always striving to learn more about the games he loved.
“Before there was Google, there was Ted Anderson,” said Andale football coach Dylan Schmidt, who was a close friend.
Anderson was an avid golfer, a member at Reflection Ridge. It wasn’t a coincidence both of his oldest children — Jordan (Fort Hays State) and Jacy (Baker) — were standout golfers at Andale who earned golf scholarships in college.
Every summer, he would join Schmidt and Wichita State track and field coach Steve Rainbolt on an annual trip to Breckenridge, where the group would play rounds and rounds of golf. Anderson was always a popular partner, not just because he could scramble to save par but also because he was such a great conversationalist.
“It was so fun to chat with him about different sporting events because he was so knowledgeable about everything,” Schmidt said. “You could tell how much he loved coaching and loved making an impact on young people. He made such a big impact in our community and he’s going to be greatly missed.”
Regardless of the sport he was coaching — football, basketball, cross country, track and field — Anderson was great because he spent the time to research whatever it took to be great, not only for himself but also for his athletes.
While he made his biggest impact as a head basketball coach, Anderson was also considered an excellent football coach. He was an off-and-on assistant at Andale, one of the state’s top programs, and an assistant at Valley Center under legendary coach Mike Smith, including the 1995 team that finished 9-2 and reached the state semifinals.
“A lot of people don’t realize he was just as good at the X’s and O’s in football as he was in basketball,” said Casey Walkup, a 1996 Valley Center graduate who played for Anderson. “He was just a sponge. He was constantly soaking up information and trying to figure out the latest and greatest offense or defense. He studied the game and he put in a ton of time, energy and effort into every sport he coached. I think he could have easily been just as great of a high school football coach.”
When Schmidt took over the Andale football program in 2017, Anderson had stepped down as an assistant coach but still wanted to help. He offered to be a “volunteer consultant” and provided Schmidt with valuable insight.
“He would write me this weekly note after games like, ‘Hey, this is what I saw’ and ‘Have you thought about doing this?’” Schmidt said. “He was just so brilliant about understanding the game and so fun to pick his brain. I’m just gutted right now.”