Binky Waldrop has never been one to stand on ceremony and few are as adept at avoiding the spotlight while promoting those around him for their roles in any success he might have achieved.
On Wednesday, the spotlight found him.
The former Charlotte High football coach became the area’s first inductee into the Florida Athletic Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. He will enter as part of the 2022 class. Waldrop and Charlotte athletic director Brian Nolan were informed of the FACA board of directors’ decision by past president Mike Knowles.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I shed a couple of tears when I got the call,” Waldrop said. “I was very surprised. The FACA is something I’ve always been very involved in.”
Throughout his career, Waldrop has been a fixture at FACA clinics and he has twice coached in the annual state game.
The Tarpons’ football program, of course, is the reason why Waldrop was elected.
Waldrop took the reins of his alma mater in 1999 and in 21 seasons compiled a 168-72 record. He led the Tarpons to 17 playoff appearances and nine district titles.
“To get recognized at the state level, I don’t know what to say. So many things went through my head,” Waldrop said. “I’m thankful for the coaches that I had that helped us do everything that we did for 25 years. I’m thankful for the players who played their tails off every Friday night that made us a very respected program. I’ve always had a great athletic director and great principal to work for and we have the best student body in the world.”
Waldrop’s innate selflessness was evident in the timing of his decision to step down. He chose to step aside prior to the 2020 season because he knew his successor would be able to take over a team with a wealth of returning talent.
Sure enough, long-time Waldrop assistant Wade Taylor guided the Tarpons to a 7-3 record in 2020 with Waldrop looking on from the sidelines on game nights while spending every other day assisting Nolan in the athletic department or raising money in the community.
“Binky’s good for our community, good for our high school, for our alumni,” Nolan said. “He wants so much for Charlotte High School to be successful and he really works hard behind the scenes. People don’t understand how hard he works behind the scenes. He’s not our football coach anymore, but he’s responsible for raising a ton of money for the football program.
“He loves Charlotte High School,” Nolan continued. “He was the head football coach for 20 years, but he’s always done the shot put at all of our track meets. He helps in a managerial way and covers anything you ask him to. He’s selfless. He’s a no-nonsense guy. If you don’t care for what we’re doing over here, you can do something else. He really believes in what we do here.”
The work comes easy to Waldrop.
“My wife said you don’t have work, you have a hobby,” Waldrop said with a laugh. “I guess when you love what you do, it isn’t a job. We made it look easy, but it isn’t easy. I learned at a young age from my parents that you can do whatever you want if you’re willing to work harder than other people.”
Hall of Fame inductions typically cap one’s career. But Waldrop doesn’t plan on doing anything different any time soon.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world to me to drive in there at 6:20 in the morning and get to work there,” Waldrop said. “It’s really awesome.”