CHS to name field in honor of Mark Britton

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Left to right are Cullman City School Board Vice President Jason Neal, board member Joey Orr, board member Chris Branham, Coach Mark Britton, Board President Amy Carter, board member Cheryl Harrison and Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff. (Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman High School is honoring one of its most successful football coaches in history right where he made a whole lot of that history in the first place.

The field at Oliver Woodard Stadium is set to be named Mark Britton Field, in honor of longtime head football Coach Mark Britton, who coached the Bearcats for 17 years and led the team to some of its most successful seasons in school history.

The field will be formally named at Cullman’s varsity home opener against Jasper Aug. 26. There will be recognition prior to kickoff at approximately 6:45 p.m. A reception will be held in the south end zone beginning at 5:45 p.m.

Most notably, Britton and his staff led the Bearcats to a 70-20 run from 2007-2012, which included a 13-1 overall record in 2007 and a 12-1 overall record in 2009. The 2007 season stands as the school record for wins in a single season. Cullman High has won a total of 24 playoff games, and Britton and his staff accounted for 16 of those victories.

“I couldn’t begin to estimate the number of students and student athletes that Coach Britton had a positive impact on. Coach Britton was so many things to many different people, in terms of a coach and mentor,” Cullman City Schools Athletic Director Mark Stephens said of his impact. “Coach Britton had a way of tough love, but I cannot remember a day that his players left without him telling them he loved them. Coach Britton also held his players accountable both academically and for their behavior in school. He was always a phone call, text message or email away from helping our teachers and administrators with a student who might need guidance.”

Britton said he is moved and humbled to have his name memorialized alongside a coach as successful as Oliver Woodard, adding he owes much of his success to his staff, assistant coaches and the student-athletes he had the pleasure of working with over the years.

“I benefited from great administrators during my tenure along with great booster club leaders and members — but more importantly I had great players and great assistant coaches that sacrificed personally for our teams during my tenure,” Britton said. “I believe that I had some of the best coaching staffs in the state — from our middle school staff that gets our players in the program and teaches those young players the fundamentals — to our offensive and defensive staffs that had our student-athletes prepared every week. We had a great video staff that prepared films of our games and practices which was invaluable. Our trainers were also very dedicated and kept our players safe during the season.”

Britton also thanked his family for their unwavering support during the long years he served as a coach: “I would like to thank my wife Patti and my children — Patrick, Matthew and Meaghan — that were all involved in the program through the years. They all gave me great support through the years, though the good times and the bad. I have been very blessed, and thanks so much to the people of Cullman for their support through the years.”

Stephens noted much of Britton’s success came from his ability to adapt and learn, with much of his coaching tenure coming in the “information age” where technology leveled the playing field for coaches across the high school and college levels to share techniques and strategies.

“Not only do you have a wealth of information at your fingertips through cell phones and computers but also college and sometimes pro staffs would open their doors for high school coaches to come and learn techniques and schemes,” Stephens explained. “This became mainstream in the 2000s and even more evident in our state with (Alabama Coach) Nick Saban and even back to (Auburn Coach) Tommy Tuberville and the access (to) those coaches and programs. Our staff became members of the American Football Coaches Association in 2007, which provided us opportunities to network with anyone in the country and opportunities to go and learn. It’s that foresight from Coach Britton, making professional development for his staff a priority as the game evolved, that had an impact in that success.”

Along with being one of the most successful coaches in Cullman history, Britton was also an accomplished and beloved educator for years at Cullman High School.

“His ability to teach history was almost (as) unique as his gift of storytelling; he is certainly missed in the classroom as well,” Stephens said. “In his later years, he was one of the few head coaches at a larger high school that taught a full load of core academic classes while serving as the head football coach.”