The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors has chosen Jim Freeman as the new Executive Director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, effective on April 1, 2000.
Freeman, who is currently the Assistant Director of the world-renowned facility, will succeed Don Naman, who has announced his retirement at the end of March.
Senator Gerald Dial, the Chairman of the Board of IMHOF, in announcing the selection of the committee, noted that there were several applicants for the job who had good credentials in management, but that no one came close to Freeman’s background in motorsports.
“Jim Freeman was head and shoulders ahead of anyone with his 20 years of experience, knowledge and contacts within the world of racing. When you add in his three and a half years as the assistant director of the facility, he was the obvious choice,” said Dial.
“We made great strides under the leadership of Don Naman, and we expect Jim to continue the Hall of Fame’s growth in every area in the years to come.”
Freeman came to IMHOF from International Speedway Corporation in 1996. He was the stock car media coordinator at Daytona International Speedway from September of 1979 until February of 1982, when he came to Talladega Superspeedway as the Public Relations Director, a position he held until his move to the Motorsports Hall of Fame.
While in the Talladega area, Freeman has been active in tourism, civic and charitable organizations. He is a past president and treasurer, and current secretary and board member, of the Alabama Travel Council, a statewide, private-sector tourism group. In 1994, Freeman was chosen as the recipient of the ATC’s highest honor, the Captain Bill Diffley Award of Excellence. He is a past president of the Alabama High Points Association, a regional tourism group, and a co-founder of the 1-20 Museum Group.
His civic involvement includes serving as past resident and current board member of the Talladega Rotary Club, and also as a board member of the Greater Talladega Area Chamber of Commerce. He is a past president and campaign director of the North Talladega County United Way, and has also been involved in both Leadership Talladega County and the Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame.
A native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Freeman worked on the sports staff at both the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal and the Nashville Banner, and was the Sports Editor of the Sidelines, the student newspaper, at his alma mater Middle Tennessee State University.
He was named Sports Information Director at MTSU in 1969, and won third place in a national promotional contest his first year on the job. In 1977, Freeman was sent to Caracas, Venezuela by the State Department to help set up an exchange program between high school and collegiate baseball coaches in the two countries. After a decade at MTSU, he left for the sunny shores of Daytona Beach.
Freeman holds the Bachelor of Science and Masters of Education degrees from Middle Tennessee State University, and served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam Conflict. He is married to the former Brenda Cotney of Childersburg, and has a daughter and a son, as well as eight grandchildren.