Robert Thompson is the new men’s head basketball coach at East Central Community College in Decatur.
ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart introduced the new Warrior head coach during a press conference held Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in the Board of Trustees Room located in the Vincent Administration Building.
Dr. Stewart said he was initially impressed with Coach Thompson’s 20-year coaching career at the college level, including 14 years as the head basketball coach at institutions in the NAIA and NCAA Division II. However, he quickly added he was more impressed with what he learned about Coach Thompson during the search process.
“While we were honored to have several outstanding coaches apply for this position, I am convinced that we have hired the best fit for our basketball team at this time in our program’s development,” said Dr. Stewart. “Coach Thompson has been described to me as a tireless recruiter with an unmatched work ethic who knows what it takes to develop a program from the ground up. He has also been described as a role model for young men, a man of great integrity, and a humble person who just loves to work with and develop young men of character. That is what we are all about here at East Central. I know that Coach Thompson is committed to building a men’s basketball program that will model the ‘EC WAY – Excellence with Class’ and we look forward to great things in our men’s basketball program through his leadership.”
Coach Thompson, who begins his new duties Wednesday, May 15, said he is “excited” and “ready to start building” a successful Warrior basketball program.
“I’m very grateful to be here. I’ve been very blessed…I’ve been around some great people who did some great things in my life and I want to share that with the kids here at East Central…I’m very fortunate and blessed.
“I told the board members earlier today it’s going to be real simple…ABCs-Academics, Basketball and Character. If they are here for two years, I want to make sure they graduate in two years. We’re going to do player development every day: pass, dribble and shoot. We’re going to get better. We’re going to teach them how to play and let them play. And then we’re going to work on character. We’re going to make them men. When they leave here, I want them to be proud to have been at East Central and make their parents proud. Because that’s what I’m going to do.”
Thompson, 44, comes to East Central following a 10-year career as head coach at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., where his teams accumulated an a overall 142-156 mark.
He led the Badgers to four winning seasons and two campaigns in which the squad finished with a .500 record. His best season was in 2005-06 season when the Badgers went 23-7 and finished second in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference and made a Sweet 16 appearance in the NAIA National Tournament. Thompson was named Conference Coach of the Year in recognition of the successful campaign.
Prior to arriving at Spring Hill, Thompson was head men’s basketball coach at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville for four seasons, compiling a 43-62 record. His “Wonder Boys” squad in 1999-2000 finished third in the Gulf South Conference West Division and was ranked eighth in the NCAA South Regional. Thompson received Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year honors following the successful season.
His overall record as head coach is 185-215.
A Tupelo native, Thompson has also served as an assistant men’s basketball coach at several colleges in Mississippi.
He was a member of the Delta State University staff from 1996 to 1999 and helped lead the Statesmen to the NCAA South Regional Championship in 1997-98 and Gulf South Tournament titles in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Thompson was employed at Belhaven College from 1993-96, where in addition to duties as a men’s basketball assistant he served as cross country coach.
He began his coaching career in 1992-93 as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Neosho County Community College in Chanute, Kansas, where helped lead the Jayhawks to their most wins in the school’s history (23) and first division championship in 25 years.
Thompson was a standout basketball player at Shannon High School and continued his athletic career at Belhaven College, where the four-year letter-winner served as team captain from 1989-92. He was also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Student Government Association Executive Council. He was elected a Senior Senator in 1991.
He received a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Belhaven College in 1992 and completed a master’s degree in physical education from Jackson State University in 1997.
Coach Thompson is married to the former Freda Rowe of Louisville. They have two sons, Joshua, 15; and Justin, nine.