Tolar did right thing by backing a great guy

April 5, 2014

In the midst of a couple of darned good area basketball coaches leaving their posts, it’s good to know that one of the best football coaches in the area is staying put.

The Tolar School Board recently gave head football coach Mike Franklin a 7-0 vote of confidence in renewing his contract.

Leta Andrews stepping aside as coach of the Granbury Lady Pirates saddens me. I wanted to be there when she got her 2,000th victory, and she’s only 584 away.

Satirical, yes, but I did think Leta would still be coaching at the time of the resurrection. I also thought her final words would be something like, “(Fill in the blank), you know better than to make that pass!”

I’m also still trying to figure out why Cody Chandler is no longer the Lipan Indians coach. All he did was win 183 games, reach state once and the regional tournament six times (regional finals four times) in his eight seasons.

But things change and so do the people associated with them. Leta deserves to ride off into the sunset of retirement, and the folks in Lipan must have their reasons for going in a different direction.

But thank goodness the powers-that-be in Tolar don’t feel the same.

What else could you give Franklin except a unanimous vote of renewal? Not doing so would make as much sense as hiring John Calipari to teach ethics.

Franklin is a good coach. What’s more, he’s an even better man.

And in a day and age when high school athletes are consistently emulating what they see on SportsCenter, we need guys like Franklin.

His players don’t taunt. They don’t get ridiculous penalties. They just play, and play well.

Like most teams, they reflect the attitude of their coach. In the case of Tolar, that means showing class.

If there is a qualm to be had about Franklin’s renewal, it’s that it’s only for a year, unlike the two-year contracts he received during his time as athletic director (a job he surrendered this school year). But as I understand that is the typical contract for every Tolar coach.

As someone in administration, a big supporter, said, “He’ll just keep winning, and we’ll just give him another.”

A HISTORY OF SUCCESS

On the field, Franklin wins. In 13 seasons he’s won four district championships and finished second four other times for eight playoff appearances.

It would be 10 postseason appearances, but in 2004-05 the Rattlers went 7-3 and were one of the best third-place teams in Texas when only two teams went to the playoffs in Class A.

Seven times his teams have reached the area (second) round of the playoffs. Granted, they received a bye in bidistrict some of those years, but they only got a bye because they won their district.

But Franklin the coach, good as he is (87-54), isn’t nearly as admirable as Franklin the man.

A few years ago Franklin, a former Granbury assistant coach, was up for the athletic director’s job in the Granbury school district. He very nearly got the job, with the vote being split 3-3 and one abstention for further review.

He might have gotten the job the next month, but that would have pushed things into the start of football. Franklin said there is no way he would do that to his players, so he withdrew.

Things worked out great. Granbury got Dwight Butler, who’s done a marvelous job, and Tolar kept Franklin.

Some coaches would have put career first. Franklin put his team first. The school benefited from him staying.

Just like they will now benefit from him hanging around for a while longer.

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Category: Sports Archived