FARMINGTON -- Encountering and processing intangible factors over the course of a 20-year coaching career prepared Beau Thompson for stepping into administration in becoming Farmington athletic director.
Thompson, who plans to step aside from coaching boys basketball, was officially hired during a June 16 special school board meeting with the board voting unanimously to make him the next athletic director following the retirement of long-time athletic director and Hall-of-Fame girls basketball coach Brad Blew on Jan. 31.
There's no substitute for 20 years of coaching experience and a diversity of things outside the arena will serve Thompson well as he takes the reins.
Gone And Back
Personnel changes affect teams and when Thompson came to Farmington from Elkins in 2006, he found himself without a point-guard because Michael Caple wouldn't become eligible until midterm after transferring from Farmington to Har-Ber and then back to Farmington before basketball practice began. The Cardinals started 7-5 then won four of their next six games with Caple back in the lineup.
Thompson acknowledged the squad became a different team with Caple, and getting him back totally changed the complexion of the team. All of a sudden Farmington scorers were getting the ball in spots where they felt comfortable shooting and became much tougher to defend.
During the 2007-2008 season, Thompson's second year at Farmington, the team dealt with the defection of star Jairemy Smith, who announced his intention to join the University of Arkansas football team as a walk-on early in February. Smith, a solid 5-9, 192 pounds, possessed a 32" vertical with 4.51 speed in the 40-yard dash and a bench-press of 375 pounds.
Thompson made the most of the available lineup relying heavily on senior Evan Abrecht and a sophomore-led, three-guard rotation reaching the semifinals of the 4A North Regional Tournament before beating Clarksville 66-63 to secure a No. 3 state tournament seed behind 19 points from senior power forward Austin Lewis.
Thompson noted the team made some changes, bounced back and the kids rallied.
Opponent's Growth Spurt
Thompson faced down challenges that couldn't be predicted including an opponent's growth spurt. Prairie Grove's Steven Idlet warmed the bench as a skinny 150-pound, 6-4 sophomore then grew to 6-10 as he blossomed into becoming the Tigers' starting center averaging 15 points, 8 rebounds and better than 3 blocks per-game.
Prairie Grove also started Chris Scroggins, a versatile 6-5 forward adept at taking big men off the dribble and finding open teammates in tight spaces in the paint. Scroggins averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds. The two towers led Prairie Grove to a 22-8 record and quarterfinals of the Class 4A State Tournament.
History seemed to repeat itself when Shandon "Biggie" Goldman grew from an under-sized 6-4 sophomore into a 6-7 shot-blocking, rebounding impact player with deadly 3-point accuracy for Lincoln as a junior. Despite getting swept in the season series by the Wolves, Farmington earned a share of the conference championship with Lincoln by posting an 11-3 league record.
Transfers Impact Rivalry
Another issue Thompson encountered during his first two seasons at Farmington was the transfer of one of his former players at Elkins, Kevin Morton, to Farmington's No. 1 rival, Prairie Grove. As a junior Morton averaged 14 points-per-game for the Tigers and as a senior he led Prairie Grove in scoring averaging 17.6 points, 3 assists, and 2.5 steals per-game.
At Farmington Jan. 11, 2008, Morton tossed in 12 points and helped Prairie Grove record a road win in the rivalry, a rare feat during Thompson's stint as Farmington head coach. Farmington grabbed a 35-22 halftime lead after a 6-6 first quarter tie. The Tigers outscored Farmington 40-24 in the second half emerging with a 64-59 win over the Cardinals.
Thompson understood the changing dynamics such transfers bring to an intense rivalry and when two-year Prairie Grove starter, Will Pridmore, transferred to Farmington for his senior season of 2018-2019, Thompson never allowed that event to become a circus or side show. He harnessed Pridmore's offensive talents while diplomatically refraining from any braggadocio in sweeping the season series with the Tigers. Once the game was in hand, Pridmore came out.
Saluting A Mentor
Thompson's high school basketball coach, Jim Stafford, of Huntsville, won a Class 4A State championship and his 1,085th high school boys basketball game in a 56-52 victory against Hamburg on March 8, 2007. Thompson coached against Stafford, whom he described as a players coach.
From Thompson's perspective, Stafford was the master of simplifying things for kids while adapting himself to his personnel on the roster.
"Time will tell he's one of better coaches to come through this state," Thompson said. "He's won at every level. Now he's got the one thing he didn't have. That completes his career."
Thompson aims to promote Farmington athletics with the same zeal he's coached with.
I'm blessed to have been here for 15 years, blessed to have made the relationships I've had here at Farmington and feel blessed to get the job," Thompson said. "There's a greater calling than just being a basketball coach. I'd like to do something else to help the people of Farmington because I've still got kids in school. I've got a first grade kid, a fourth grade kid and a high-schooler and I want it to be a special place for them to grow up and for everybody that's moving in."