Prep Football Longtime Bearcat coach Mark Britton announces retirement | CullmanSense

Prep Football

Longtime Bearcat coach Mark Britton announces retirement

CULLMAN - It’s the end of an era at Cullman High School. Following a successful 30-year career in education and athletics, Cullman High School head football coach and former head baseball coach Mark Britton on Friday announced that this season will be his last.

After achieving the goal of 30 years with an accumulated 149 career football wins to date and 199 career baseball wins, Britton has decided to hand off the ball to the next leader of the Bearcats.

In 1964, after completing his 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, Britton’s father Roy, along with his wife Elizabeth Britton, returned to Roy’s native Alabama and moved to Cullman.  In 1976, the Brittons moved to a home just two blocks away from Cullman High School with their six children.  Mark Britton began his life as a Bearcat near the campus that he has called home for 27 of his 30 years in his career in education.  During his high school days at CHS, Britton played football and baseball for the black and gold.  Upon completing his college career, he returned to Cullman High School in 1988 to serve as history teacher, head baseball coach and assistant football coach.

Under his leadership, the Bearcat baseball team made it to the final four of the state playoffs; the team garnered 199 game wins during his 10-year run as head baseball coach.  Since 1998, two of Britton's former players have served as CHS head baseball coaches: Brian Bowen and Brent Patterson.  In 1998, Britton was hired on as the head football coach at Fairview High School, where he led the Aggies to a 17-15 record during his tenure.  In 2001, Britton returned to his alma mater to take over the helm as head football coach of the Bearcats.

Mark and Patti Britton raised their children at Oliver Woodard Stadium, where each Friday night was a family event. The Britton brothers ran the scoreboard, filmed games and worked the chains, while “Pop” Roy Britton and Patti Britton cheered on the team from the stands.  As children, Patrick, Matthew and Meaghan Britton worked the sidelines behind their father as ball boys and water girls until the day that they would take the field themselves as players, athletic trainers and even coaches.

During his time at CHS, Britton has never had a losing season -  with a current career accumulation of 149 wins and a CHS head-coaching record of 132 wins and 62 losses - Mark Britton has surpassed Coach Oliver Woodard’s previous record of 106-40-6.  Under the mentorship of coaches like Andy Page (city councilman), Dale Cook and Woodard, Britton continued the legacy of Cullman High School football.  As a head coach, Britton has led his teams to playoff appearances in 17 out of 20 years.

Spencer Region (All-American) went on to play for the Clemson Tigers after playing for Britton and the Bearcats.  Tyler Caldwell (All-American), one of Britton’s finest, still holds the all-time record in the state of Alabama for most passing yards in a single season (4,132), most passing attempts in a season (530), most passes completed in a game (42), and most passes completed in a season (319).  Zac Tubbs was selected to the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game and later went on to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks where he was named All-SEC.  First Team All-State players such as Tubbs, John Nyquist, Jonathan Mason, Justin Britt, Ben Moore, Andrew Winfrey, Caldwell, Michael Timmons, Charlie Sanford, Gavin Ellis, Drew Forrest, Trey Moon, Justin Patterson and Owen Lovell are Britton standouts, earning honors in high school and many at the collegiate level as well.  Most recently, after completing last season with the Bearcats, Hunter Brannon was honored to play offensive line in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game and now continues his football career at the University of Alabama.

Britton has been inducted into the Cullman County Sports Hall of Fame and received an invitation to coach in the AHSAA North-South All-Star Football game.

Britton has worked with six principals and eight superintendents in the Cullman City School system.  Through these partnerships and under their joint leadership, the community has seen the renovations of Oliver Woodard Stadium and the construction of a new athletic gym which includes state-of-the-art weight rooms for all CHS student athletes, along with new locker room facilities for football, track, cheer, cross country and volleyball.  In 2007, Britton accompanied a team of community leaders to investigate the feasibility of installing a multi-use turf field at Oliver Woodard Stadium.  Since 2008, football, cheer, soccer, cross country, track and field, band exhibitions, youth league football and the 1A-3A State Track meet have all called Oliver Woodard Stadium “home turf."

On a personal level, Britton coached many community leaders.  Among the ranks of individuals arising from Britton’s athletic programs are community leaders such as coaches Bowen and Patterson, Hank Apel (Apel Steel), Garlan Gudger (city council president), Rev. John Richter, CCS CTE/Tech Coordinator Josh Swindall, CHS administrators Jake Johnson, Aaron Sparks and Mark Stephens, and CCS School Board members Lee Powell and Chris Branham. Coach Jonathan Romine joined the coaching staff during Britton’s first year as head coach and has been a part of the team’s success for the past 17 years.  Many of the coaches and teachers on staff in the school system today are former students and players of Britton's.

Britton and the Bearcats stood together with Winfrey and family in 2013 as they fought together to support Winfrey’s recovery efforts following his car accident.  Britton’s Bearcats responded to the call for help during a time of need at the Cullman Memory Gardens and again when the devastating tornadoes of 2011 ripped through Cullman County.

Image: Isabella Allred of the Cullman High School Broadcast Network interviews Head Coach Mark Britton following the Bearcats' win over North Jackson this September. / Cullman High School