Coach Franks takes lead coaching position for Track

Brandon Kirchner, Sports Editor

Last spring, Track Head Coach Don Knapp retired after over three decades of being the coach of the Rolla track team. Coming in to fill the hole left of his departure is three year Head Coach of the Rolla Football, team Coach Jon Franks. Even though football has been his passion for most of his life. He still has quite a lot of experience in the world of track and field.

“I was a thrower in high school, and at my first football coaching job at Stockton, I was an assistant for the track team for around five years. Then I was the head track coach for four years while I was at Stockton. While I was at Lebanon I was the thrower and sprinter coach for the track team there. When I came here they didn’t have an obvious spot. When there was the opportunity for the job, I applied for it,” Franks said.

While there are some familiar faces from the football coaching staff on the track staff, there is still variety between the two teams. Coach Franks is looking forward to working with the coaching staff on the track team.

“Obviously, Coach MacCash has a lot of knowledge when it comes to pole vaulting and the jumping events. Coach Kinder is really involved with the distant runners. Coach Zink, I’m very excited to work with him and the sprinters on the team. Obviously, I worked with Coach Sneed and Coach Reeves on the football team. I’ve worked with Coach Bartle and Coach Terranova, but haven’t worked with Coach Brand or Coach Ballinger so that’ll be new for us. I’m just excited to start a new adventure,” Franks said.

With Coach Knapp retiring, Rolla loses over three decades of experience in the many events in the realm of track and field. Coach Franks, however, is excited to try to fill the whole left in his place.

“Coach Knapp has been here for thirty plus years, so we’re definitely not going to be able to replace that type of knowledge since he has done such a great job for a long time. Just bringing the excitement, Coach Knapp did a great job at that. We’re just hoping to fit in and get excited for the new season. For me personally, I want as many people out there as we can. Speed is important not only in football but in every sport. The first two things they ask are how fast are you and how far can you jump. Track does a great job at promoting the concepts of those types of things,” Franks said.

Since coming to Rolla, Coach Franks has not had the opportunity to coach track for the past three years. However, he is still very excited to get back into the realm of track and field.

“I have always enjoyed coaching track. I’m just excited to coach track again since I haven’t been able to the past few years. Football and track are two different worlds, it is still competitive but it’s not that contiguous animosity like it is in football. Track, you’re obviously still competing but it’s just a different experience in the realm of track and field. A lot of kids will find out that I’m different when it comes to coaching track, but I’m still competitive. Just different aspects I’m looking forward to coaching track again,” Franks said.