Changing Our World - Harold Franklin - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

02/20/04

Changing Our World - Harold Franklin

Coach Harold Franklin has been encouraging kids to take care of their bodies and to compete in sports for more than 40 years. After successful coaching careers in Illinois, Florida, and as an athletic director in the Texas prison system, Franklin came to Yantis High School in 1985 and produced even more winning teams.

"I don't keep records per say, that never made much difference to me. I enjoy what I did and think at one time I figured it was around 77% of the games we won, most in track and basketball in Illinois. Here, it's been volleyball and cross country and track," Franklin said.

Franklin's girl's volleyball team in the state finals, and cross country and track contenders at state finals, only added to his success at Yantis. Now, around Yantis, Coach Franklin is known for making champions, but in Senior Olympics, he's known for being a champion.

"These medals are for 5k and 10k, but most of them are from Senior Olympic games," he said. "There are a lot of medals here. There are 89 hanging there."

Franklin has competed in 5k, 10k, 400 meter and 1500 meter races in Senior Olympics, and has, as he puts it, "shot the hoops" in seniors competition as well. In '93 he competed in the national finals.

While he enjoyed the competitiveness of the Senior Olympic sports, Franklin says that most of all, he enjoyed the people. Franklin said, "I've never met a negative Senior Olympian. They're all positive and they just enjoy it. They're vibrant and eager. You name the sport and activity and they do it."

Franklin's description of Senior Olympians is pretty much a description of himself; positive attitude, vibrant and eager, all qualities he's shared and is still sharing with young people.

Although Franklin, who'll be 73 in March, has retired twice from teaching, he just can't stay away from his lifetime passion of athletics. So, Yantis High School still has the inspiring presence of coach Harold Franklin who, with enthusiasm and dedication, is Changing Our World.

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