Thursday, February 9, 2017
Sean Thompson is Rockets' associate head coach
Many see this as the defecto changing of the guard – a move aimed at making it clear that Thompson gets Starnes’ endorsement to become the next head coach.
Starnes, who will begin his 27th season next fall, plans on retiring in June 2018.
“Sean has demonstrated his ability to lead the football program and because of my (administrative) position, I want it to be clear that he is in charge in my absence,” said the 54-year-old Starnes, who has coached in Marion since 1991.
Over the past couple of years, it had become apparent to many observers close to the football program that Thompson was the heir apparent to the football reigns. Starnes makes no secret of the fact that he wants the football program that he’s built and guided for the better part of three decades to be in the capable hands of someone with passion for the game and students.
“He is ready to be a head coach,” Starnes said last week when he announced the promotion.
“Sean has demonstrated care and concern for all students, not just football players,” Starnes said. “For me that is very important because it’s the way I always approached this job.”
Thompson, 30, is a 2004 graduate of Crittenden County High School. He played four years of collegiate football as a wide receiver at Campbellsville. His coaching career began at Union County, but he’s been an assistant at Crittenden for three years, serving as offensive coordinator the last two seasons.
Currently director of the Alternative Learning Center, Thompson has an undergradate degree in business and a master’s in special education. Thompson has been instrumental in consolidating the entire football program from flag football and little league to middle and high school under one umbrella.
“That continuity is important,” Thompson said.
“For me, this is truly an honor,” Thompson continued. “This is exactly where I want to be.”
Thompson came to Crittenden County as a middle schooler. Prior to that he was living in Colorado with his mother, whose family had relocated to Marion from Florida. One of the main reasons he came to Marion in the late 1990s was because of the football program.
“Rocket football means so much to him,” Starnes said. “This is all by design as we prepare to move forward into the future and I can rest assured that this program will be in good hands.”
When Starnes retires next year, the head football coach’s position, by school district policy, will be posted and open to any applicant.
However, it is entirely clear who the longtime skipper wants as his replacement.