By Steven Days-Merrill
Mark Thornhill has lived in New Bedford all his life. Born in the South End, he graduated from New Bedford High School. Since the age of 14, his freshman year, running was a big part of his life. Coach Thornhill ran for the New Bedford High track team. During his high school career, coaches Dick Pont and Ron Barbosa, as well as Fred Bonsey Silva, inspired him in his life. In 1986, an opportunity at Greater New Bedford Voc Tech High School came about for him to work with Jim Ruel during the winter track season of 1986-1987. That spring there was an opening for head spring track coach, he applied, and the rest is history. Coach Thornhill is currently the Boys and Girls Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track coach, and also the O.S.H.A instructor for Academy D. During his free time he keeps busy racing his own sailboat that he has named, “No Quarter Given.” Since becoming head coach, his teams have obtained 49 Championships with SCC Conference, Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association (MSTCA), and Vocational State Championships. Coach Thornhill is currently in the Hall of Fame at both New Bedford High School, as an athlete, and the MSTCA Coach’s Hall of Fame for coaching in Massachusetts. He also is The New England Track and Field Clinic Director.
Coach Thornhill has dealt with some challenges throughout the years. The most difficult challenges he faced were a severe back injury and open-heart surgery. But he has recovered, and Coach Thornhill believes he is and will forever be a man of structure.
“Without structure, the whole house will fall down.”