Thompson hires new men’s basketball head coach

Published 3:09 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – After two years under Kelly Cheatham, Thompson High School announced on Tuesday, April 10, that its boys basketball program is heading in a new direction.

In a press release, the Warriors announced the hiring of Dru Powell as their new head coach. Powell comes to Thompson after stints with both Spanish Fort High School and Gulf Shores High School.

Powell led the Gulf Shores Dolphins for a two-year period and amassed 20 wins in his first season along with an area championship in 2010.

Following the 2010-11 season, Powell took over Spanish Fort’s program and had an immediate impact notching 25 wins, the most in school history at the time, in his first season.

Since becoming the Toros’ head coach in 2011, Powell has won 153 games in seven years. Those 153 wins are a part of 180 total victories for Powell, who also has six seasons with at least 20 wins to his name.

While at Spanish Fort, Powell led the team to an Elite Eight appearance in 2015 and the Toros’ first-ever Final Four appearance in 2017.

He has also helped lead Spanish Fort to an area championship in four out of the last seven seasons.

“Powell is a seasoned head coach and brings great energy, enthusiasm, ideas and direction to the Thompson Basketball program,” read a press release. “We are pleased to welcome coach Powell and are excited for him to begin working as part of our faculty and staff.”

Powell’s success led to him receiving the Baldwin County Coach of the Year award in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017 and being selected as the Mobile Optimist Club Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017.

During his last two seasons at Spanish Fort, Powell became a member of the Alabama High School Athletic Association basketball committee.

Prior to head-coaching stints at Gulf Shores and Spanish Fort, Powell was a basketball manager and graduate assistant at the University of Alabama under previous head coach Mark Gottfried.

He graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in December 2006 and is a native of Leroy.

Powell is married and has three children: Dane, Parker and Libby Caroline Powell.

He will be replacing Cheatham, who has been the head coach of the Warriors for the last two seasons.

The team never really got going under Cheatham, but mainly due to the lack of seniority on the team as the majority of his players had been freshmen and sophomores each of the last two seasons – something Powell hope to benefit from.

Before coming to Thompson, Cheatham spent 15 seasons at Ramsay High School where he won two state championships. While his time was short lived, he leaves behind a young team that will be exciting for Powell to work with.

The Warriors are looking forward to the change and optimistic for what is to come under their new head coach.