After 19 years as head of the Wenatchee Valley College Men’s Basketball Program, Greg Franz will turn the court over to a new coach next year.
Increased demands for recruiting and fundraising, teaching with an overload, and personal health were the reasons Franz gave in a letter of his intention to retire as head men’s basketball coach to WVC Athletic Director Jessica Schutt on April 2.
“It has been an honor to share the past 19 years with the many outstanding student-athletes who have been a part of the Wenatchee Valley College Men’s Basketball Program,” Franz said.
Jim Richardson, WVC president, said it has been an honor, in turn, to have Franz as a coach, as well as an instructor. “This is a man who always puts students first,” he said. “His dedication is revealed in so many ways, especially in his mentoring of his players both as students and athletes. He is a good example for the rest of us.”
Franz will continue to teach physical education at the college and will help with the transition of the men’s basketball program, including recruiting for next year’s team. Before coming to WVC, he coached in Illinois and Montana for a total of 29 years.
Franz said he feels privileged and blessed to have worked with the kids. “It’s been a great journey,” he said. “I’m a richer man because of that.”
Schutt said she is thankful for the opportunity to have worked with Franz the last three years, and appreciates his 19 years of service and dedication. “Coach Franz accomplished many dreams that coaches usually only wish for, winning a championship title in 1996 and runner-up in 2000,” she said. “I respect the time and energy he put forth toward serving the hundreds of student-athletes, Wenatchee Valley College and North Central Washington.”
Schutt said Franz embodies the concept of “team player.”
Shelly Pflugrath, who coaches women’s fastpitch softball at WVC, said Franz “has been the one constant in athletics since I have been here. He has been a tremendous asset to me and my players, as an adviser to them and a mentor to me.”
Pflugrath said she sought Franz’s advice on numerous occasions in making decisions in how to conduct her own program. “His opinion mattered to me and guided me in my own decision making,” she said.
“I am in a little bit of shock that he won’t be patrolling the sidelines next season. It will be an adjustment for all of us. Whoever replaces him has big shoes to fill. Coach Franz wasn’t just about what happened on the court, he was about impacting young peoples’ lives, something he did and did well for 19 years.”
Marco Azurdia, vice president of student development and former WVC Women’s Basketball coach, echoed the thoughts of others. “I have always appreciated Greg’s genuine regard for his players,” he said. “It was never about him; it was always about the players.”