Thompson High School Head Football Coach Mark Freeman is the face of the Thompson Warriors, the 3-time defending Class 7A State Champions. Class 7A is the biggest classification in the AHSAA, which makes Freeman the architect of the biggest “turnaround”.
“I grew up right down the road from Alabaster,” Freeman said. “I always said — why is Thompson never getting over the hill?”
Freeman is a large part of the answer to his own question. He began at Thompson in the fall of 2015. The season before he arrived, the Warriors finished with an 0-10 record, missing the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year.
In Freeman’s first two seasons, Thompson finished with a 5-5 record.
In his third season, the results started to show. The Warriors finished 12-1 in 2017, losing in the semifinals of the Class 7A State Football Playoffs.
Thompson took another step forward in 2018, advancing to the Class 7A State Championship Game.
The 2019 season began a streak of three consecutive state football championships for Thompson High School.
The results are clear on the field but Alabaster City Schools Superintendent, Dr, Wayne Vickers believes Coach Freeman’s impact is just as prominent off the field.
“A lot of people thought — Oh you just got a great coach. No, we got a great person,” Vickers said. “The coaching part of it? Sure, it’s great. But we’ve got an outstanding individual that loves our kids and loves our parents, loves our school system.”
Coach Freeman’s football program has a trademark phrase. Following almost every activity — whether it’s a win, a loss, or a practice — you see Thompson’s signature “Outwork’em All” expression on social media.
“I’ve lived my life thinking I can (out)work people. I can work as good as anybody,” Freeman said. “The outwork’em all came.
“It’s so rewarding what we deal with. I think you get the inspiration, it’s like an injection of energy. Everytime you can affect people, it’s like an injection of energy. Everytime you can affect people, it’s like an adrenaline shot.”
Coach Freeman and Thompson football have had a lot of positive impact. And the results speak for itself: over the past five seasons, the Warriors are 62-6. They have reached the Class 7A State Championship Game each of the past four years and have captured three consecutive years.