Highly regarded TSU debate coach turns 100 years old

“100 years on this earth. That’s a tremendous blessing,” said Dr. Thomas Freeman.

Dr. Thomas Freeman isn't interested in talking about how he's inspired the likes of Denzel Washington, the late congresswoman Barbara Jordan, or generations of students as Texas Southern University's legendary debate coach.

So it may be no surprise that he's not making a big deal about turning 100 years old.

"Yes, I am active and I come to work every day. Is there any reason for not doing so?" he asks.

Dr. Freeman may be slower these days, but he's still traveling abroad and preaching every Sunday.

What does he credit for his energy and long life?

"I have a nice looking wife. She's been that way for all of these umpteen years," he says.

Dr. Freeman says his wife Clarice, who is 97 years old, keeps him on a strict, healthy diet, and she's been his biggest cheerleader for more than 65 years of marriage, pushing him to pursue his passion of debate and helping young people.

"We respect each other. I respect his interests, he respects mine," Clarice says.

For a man who's lived to see so much, Dr. Freeman says a moment that stands out is the election of Barack Obama as president. He says what's been most surprising is the state of American politics.

“I hope we will not sink any lower than we've already sunk," he says.

When asked about his legacy, he said that's for others to decide, but hopes he's left a mark.