Mark “Bomber” Thompson has achieved more in Australian Rules Football (AFL) than most would dare dream.
Thompson reaped three premierships during his career at Essendon, including one as captain and two club best and fairest awards. He also earned a spot on Essendon’s Team of the Century.
Thompson went on to coach Geelong, where he gained a place in the history books by ending the Cats’ 44-year premiership drought in 2007. In 2008, he took the club to the Grand Final again before securing a second premiership in 2009.
Thompson is one of only eight AFL men to both captain and coach premiership teams, putting him the company of legends like Jack Dyer, Charlie Sutton, David Parkin, Ron Barassi and Leigh Matthews.
Between 1983 and 1996, Mark Thompson appeared in 202 games for the Bombers and captained the side from 1992 to 1995.
He earned the reputation as a fierce competitor and formidable defender during his career on the backline.
He won his two club best and fairest awards in 1987 and 1990, finishing in the top five of the vote count a total of six times. His other honours include the 1984 and 1986 Most Determined Player a well as Most Improved and Best Clubman in 1985.
The pinnacle of his playing career came with premierships in 1984, 1985 and 1993 – the latter as captain.
After his illustrious 14-year playing career with the Bombers, Thompson entered a role as assistant coach under Kevin Sheedy. He was also an assistant coach for Dennis Pagan at the Kangaroos.
In 2000, he accepted the senior coaching position at Geelong, taking on the challenge of rebuilding the Cats’ playing list.
The turnaround was amazing. The club showed huge improvement in 2004 and finished in the top-six in 2005.
The 2006 season was a disappointing one. Afterwards, Thompson’s job was under fire but he survived a rigorous and very public club review.
Thompson and the Cats’ had a shaky start to the 2007 season but the coach went on to steer the club to a phenomenal 15-match winning streak and premiership success.
Thompson’s 10 years with the Cats produced their most successful period in football since its dominance in the 50’s. The Cats made three consecutive grand final appearances from 2007-2009.
The team’s greatest moments came in the 2007 Grand Final with the record-breaking win over Port Adelaide and in 2009 with a Grand Final win over St. Kilda. Though favorites in the 2008 Grand Final, the Cats were unexpectedly beaten by Hawthorn.
Thompson announced his retirement from the top job at the conclusion of the 2010 season. The storied player and coach then revealed he would return “home” to the Bombers – the club that kick-started his impressive career.
In November 2010 he took up the senior assistant coaching role at Essendon Football Club under former team-mate and premiership player James Hird.
Thompson maintains that he left Geelong for the sake of the players, an assertion proven by the Cats 2011 premiership title under successor Chris Scott.
Alongside the Bombers’ other favourite son in James Hird, Thompson hopes to guide the Essendon Football Club back to its glory days.
Mark Thompson’s amazing career has given him a wealth of wisdom that make him the ideal keynote speaker for your next conference or symposium. His engaging style and insights on building a winning culture are part of his conference-speaking repertoire.