TALLADEGA, AL (March 7, 2016) – The staff of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (IMHOF), along with many friends throughout the local, as well as the motorsports community, are mourning the loss of Jim Freeman, former Executive Director of the renowned facility, who passed away Sunday morning in Murfreesboro, TN.
Freeman, 73, was the Executive Director of the IMHOF, which is located outside of turn four at Talladega Superspeedway, from 2000 until his retirement in 2006. He was the organization’s Assistant Director from 1996-2000, working under the tutelage of Don Naman. Prior to his stint at the IMHOF, Freeman headed the Talladega Superspeedway Public Relations Department for 14 years, from 1982-1996.
“Jim Freeman was one of the nicest and most engaging individuals that I have ever had the pleasure of working with during my career in motorsports,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch, a longtime board member of the IMHOF. “I met him in 1989, and as long as I knew him, he was the same great person. His warm personality and positive attitude made him a great team player, and without a doubt, he was one of the all-time great joke tellers who made so many laugh and smile. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as they say goodbye to a one-of-a-kind individual.”
While in the Talladega area, Freeman was active in tourism, civic and charitable organizations. He was a past president, treasurer, 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 was also president of the Alabama High Points Association, a regional tourism group, and a co-founder of the I-20 Museum Group.
His civic involvement included serving as past president and board member of the Talladega Rotary Club, and as a board member of the Greater Talladega Area Chamber of Commerce. He was also president and campaign director of the North Talladega County United Way. Freeman was involved with Leadership Talladega County.
Freeman came to the Talladega area after a three-year stint as a stock car media coordinator at Daytona International Speedway.
A native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Freeman was named Sports Information Director at Middle Tennessee State University in 1969 after serving stints on the staffs of the Daily News Journal and Nashville Banner. In 1976 he joined a small group of MTSU administrators to create the Blue Raider Sports Hall Fame. Over the following 40 years, Freeman was an integral part of the hall of fame process at his beloved alma mater. In 2014, he was honored by director of athletics Chris Massaro in being named to the Ring of Honor.
Freeman holds Bachelor of Science (1969) and Masters of Education (1973) degrees from MTSU, and served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam Conflict.
After moving back to Murfreesboro following his retirement, Freeman also assisted the current MT Athletic Communications staff as the football press box announcer, media greeter and feature writer.
Freeman is survived by his sister Sue Copeland of Murfreesboro, his daughter Lee Robinson of Nashville, son David Freeman of Jacksonville, FL, grandsons Brandon and John Robinson and extended family members.
Funeral arrangements are as follows at Murfreesboro’s Woodfin’s Funeral Chapel: Tuesday visitation from 3 – 7 p.m., Wednesday visitation from noon – 1 p.m., followed by the funeral service at 1 p.m. and Evergreen Cemetery graveside service with military honors at 2 p.m.