Rowdy Freeman has Caprock ready to get rowdy

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - After seven years coaching at Caprock High School and multiple opportunities to coach elsewhere along the way, Rowdy Freeman is staying put as the Longhorns’ new head football coach – and Caprock is ready to get rowdy in all the best ways.

Even though the promotion will have Freeman walking the same Longhorn sidelines as he has for the last seven years, his week has been nothing short of tumultuous. On Monday at noon, Dan Sherwood, who he’s coached under for the entirety of his career at Caprock, was announced as the next head football coach of Randall High. It hadn’t even been six hours before it was announced that Freeman would be filling his spot. Less than 24 hours after that, Amarillo ISD held Freeman’s introductory press conference. Of course, he was made aware of all of this a few days prior, but there was no rest until Tuesday night.

“I got a much better night’s sleep last night, man, so I’m ready to go,” he tells me over a Zoom call. He’s wearing a black hat with the Caprock “C” front and center, smiling ear-to-ear. He describes the process as “hyper speed” to me. “I’ve never been a part of anything like it. Within a matter of a week, I go from just being an assistant, to having interviews and, obviously, conversations with my family, because if we do this, we’re going all in.”

Freeman didn’t need to tell me he was going all in as the next head coach of the Caprock Longhorns. The passion in his voice and the fire in his eyes said it all. It was a fire lit by his longtime coworker and mentor, Dan Sherwood, who he credits with helping keep him in the Caprock cluster after 15 years.

“I grew tremendously under Dan,” he said. “I’ve had a hand in building this place. If Dan hadn’t given me that opportunity, I probably would’ve left at some point.”

Freeman spent eight years coaching at Bowie Middle School, where he won a city championship. He comes from a lineage of Panhandle coaching, with his grandfather (endearingly called granddad) Stocky Lamberson having coached at Randall, Gruver, Borger, Memphis and Panhandle, where his Panthers were the 1984 state runners-up.

He has a family name to live up to, but he also has big shoes to fill in light of Coach Sherwood’s departure. In his nine years at Caprock, Sherwood made the playoffs four times, won a district championship, and took home the first playoff victory in school history in 2018. Freeman inherits an up-and-coming Longhorn football program, but like any great coach, he already has a game plan for success.

“It starts and ends with being genuine,” he tells me. “I got into this profession to build relationships with kids and with other adults. I genuinely care about the success of this program. I genuinely care about what’s going on in their lives outside of here. It begins and ends with making sure everyone on this staff and everybody on this campus knows that Rowdy Freeman is a genuine, genuine dude.”

I can hear it again, the passion in his voice. I may not be a Caprock Longhorn, and I may only be talking to him through a square on a screen, but I can feel it. Rowdy Freeman is a genuine dude. I spoke with his wife Rachel, who knows it’s a feeling shared by others, too, whether he knows it or not.

“He just doesn’t realize the influence he has,” she said. “I got messages from multiple staff members at Caprock saying, ‘We were rooting for him, we’re so glad he’s the guy who got the job,’ and he has no idea. It’s in his DNA.”

One sentiment was echoed by both Rowdy and Rachel: that their phones had been blowing up since the news. Anyone who knows Freeman seems to be excited for him. Rachel tells me that he still gets phone calls from kids that he coached over a decade ago at Bowie. She says one of them, 25-years-old now, commented on her Facebook post recently, saying his influence both on and off the field “lasts a lifetime.”

Being a genuine person might just be in Freeman’s DNA, but his goals for Caprock extend both far beyond himself and far beyond football. Like any coach, he wants to take his team to new heights, but Friday night lights aren’t the only Longhorn sporting events where you’ll see him around.

“It’s about celebrating every sport on this campus,” he tells me. “I’m so excited to go watch huge wrestling matches, or volleyball or softball playoffs, or our soccer programs. When we grow and build this athletic program, the entire student body is going to get behind it and its new energy.”

With a budding football program that he played an instrumental part in building, Rowdy Freeman is stepping into one of the more exciting 5A head coaching positions, and with his early and clear dedication to the entire broad scope of Longhorn athletics, one thing is clear: Caprock is positively ready to get rowdy.

To view my full interview with Rowdy Freeman, click here.

Preston Moore

Preston Moore

Preston is a sports reporter and anchor for NewsChannel 10.