FARMINGTON -- A week of speculation and anticipation concluded the way Beau Thompson hoped with the Farmington School Board making his hiring as the school's next athletic director official June 16.
Word leaked out June 9 that Thompson, Farmington boys basketball head coach, was the expected hire following interviews the first week of June with three in-house candidates that also included Farmington baseball coach and dean of students Jay Harper, who also serves as an assistant football coach; and Randy Osnes, who coaches both softball and golf.
A June 9 posting by Thompson on the Arkansas Activities Association's website advertising an anticipated opening for head boys basketball coach indicated he had been selected by the hiring committee, formed by incoming Farmington superintendent Jon Paul Laffoon, as the choice to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of long-time athletic director Brad Blew Jan. 31.
"What a privilege to get to replace one of my mentors, Brad Blew. He taught me a lot about this business, probably everything I know about athletic administration, a lot of it I've learned through him," Thompson said. "Obviously to get the keys to this great school's athletic facilities, things that Bryan Law, Brad Blew and our school board have come about in the last few years; and just excited to work for the people of Farmington, to work for the school of Farmington, and mostly go to work for our kids."
Thompson coached 20 years -- the last 15 as head boys basketball coach at Farmington. The Cardinals went 15-9 overall and 8-4 last season in the 4A-1 Conference. Thompson helped interim athletic director Purifoy, and head girls basketball coach Brad Johnson manage the Class 4A State basketball tournament in March hosted by Farmington at Cardinal Arena.
"I left for the only job that I'd leave for," Thompson said. "I've got a good team, love my kids, will really miss coaching them, but this is a once in a lifetime job that came around at Farmington."
Laffoon attended his first school board meeting as a guest during the June 16 special meeting. He will take over July 1 -- the same date Thompson moves into the athletic director position. Laffoon said Thompson has a clear vision on where he wants to take the athletic department, and that he wanted to lean on local people. None of the 17 applicants from outside the district were interviewed.
Applications from outside the district included five from Texas, two from Maryland, and one each from Iowa, Colorado, North Dakota and Minnesota. The district received four applications from Northwest Arkansas, one from Vilonia and one from Fort Smith.
Laffoon was hired in March as Farmington school superintendent replacing Law, whose last day will be June 30 after resigning to become director of the Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative.
The hiring committee was comprised of Laffoon, Law, Assistant Superintendent Stephanie Pinkerton, Assistant Superintendent Terri Strope, high school Principal Jon Purifoy and junior high Principal Joe McClung.
Thompson's hiring as athletic director creates an opening for head boys basketball coach at Farmington, something he intends to fill soon.
"We're going to try to get one in place as soon as possible. We posted the job as anticipatory four or five days ago just to start gauging interest," Thompson said following his June 16 hiring. "We could get some more interest. This school's got three things that are real important to coaches: location, facilities and players. We've got all three of those right now so we are a pretty attractive job."
On hand to congratulate Thompson was Matt Wilson, a 2017 graduate who set a new school record for most points in a game with 50 against Clarksville. Thompson gave him the green light to shoot and accommodated Wilson's frequent request to get into the gym for shooting practice. Wilson signed with Delta State and played two seasons at the Cleveland, Miss. Division II school before transferring to the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. He has one season of elgibility remaining and it was his turn to cheer on his high school coach with Thompson's promotion to athletic director.
"I know it's something he's been wanting to do for awhile so I'm just really happy for him to get the chance to get the opportunity to do that," Wilson said.