FRANCO HAS CREATED A LEGACY AT TYRONE
By Brian Carson
The great Vince Lombardi once said, "football is a relatively
easy game. To be successful you must block, tackle and play with
100 percent effort."
At Tyrone, head coach John Franco has built not just a dynasty,
but a legacy on that simple principle.
His charges play the game the way it's supposed to be played -
hard, intense and with maximum effort. It doesn't matter about
natural talent or skills; coach Franco will bring out the best
that each player has to offer.
Since his arrival 12 years ago, the Golden Eagles have been reaping
the benefits. Under Franco's tutelage, Tyrone has amassed a 118-26
record with seven District 6-AA championships and a PIAA title
in 1999. They have reached the Western Finals four times and in
1996; the Golden Eagles were a PIAA runner-up to Mount Carmel.
They are the only District 6 team to capture a PIAA state title.
The 2005 season was supposed to be a down year for the Tyrone
squad. Heavy losses and inexperienced returnees dotted the roster.
This was the year the Golden Eagles would be handled, so said
Instead, Tyrone has rolled to a 6-0 record, and are coming off
a 41-6 dismantling of then unbeaten Bellefonte last Friday.
The Golden Eagles are currently ranked fourth in the state by
PFN. So much for Tyrone having a down year. If the credit goes
anywhere, it goes to the man in charge.
Franco is a throwback coach to the golden days of football. He
would fit in perfectly with the philosophy of a Lombardi, Paul
Brown or George Halas.
Franco preaches the basics, the fundamentals of successful football.
He demands his squad give their best, but behind his sometimes
aloof and intense exterior is a man who cares deeply for his players.
His goal is to bring out the best in his team, win or lose. What's
important to him is character building - not wins and losses -
even though he wins much more than he loses.
Behind the stoic features and dark eyes is a man who has a deep
passion for the game of football. Lombardi would have loved having
a John Franco as an assistant coach.
All he does is win. No matter how much he wants to tell us that
his team is not that good or how much work needs to be done. We
know the routine. We know that come football season, Franco's
squad will be ready to take on all challengers and rack up more
and more victories to add to his growing resume.
Franco started his career at Altoona High School, where he compiled
a 40-45-2 record before moving on to Tyrone. His career record
now stands at 152-71-2.
John graduated from Bishop Guilfoyle high school in 1974 and went
on to IUP, where he received his degree in 1978. The major influence
in his life was his father, John Franco, Jr.
John Jr., the name his dad was usually called, was a man who built
his life on old-fashioned, timeless principles that shaped the
entire family. Not just John, but brothers Scott and Tom would
go on to success in their respective endeavors. If the mark of
a successful father is the character of his offspring - then John
Jr. was a rousing success.
John Jr. was a police officer in the Altoona area from 1962 to
1992 and instilled in his son the untiring work ethic and rock
solid faith that would be the foundation of his professional career,
as a teacher and high school football coach.
Unfortunately, his father never had the chance to see John coach
at Tyrone. John Franco Jr. would succumb to cancer before his
son took the helm of the Golden Eagles.
But his undying influence would reflect the philosophy of the
Tyrone program through his son. Character and hard work would
be first; winning football games would assume a second-place stature.
The influence of the father would profoundly affect the son. And
through this process, a legacy would be born.
The Golden Eagles will continue to be successful because of the
drive and mental makeup of the man in charge.
John Franco is one of the truly great coaches to grace the stage
of high school football in Pennsylvania. Not only Tyrone, but
all of District 6 is fortunate to have him apply his trade and
skills in Central Pennsylvania.
I for one feel that Franco is the best coach, not only in District
6, but in the entire state as well. He is a class act, on and
off the field. His achievements speak for themselves. He is a
great representative of all that is good in high school sports.
He is much more than just X's and O's.
And I'm pretty sure that in some special place up in heaven, John
Franco, Jr. is looking down with a pride that only a father can
have, and is smiling at the amazing accomplishments of his eldest