Millwood coach belongs in Hall
Somehow it was ironic that I received a ballot for the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame this week.
Ironic because I’ve been working on a project about Varryl Franklin, the legendary Millwood High School basketball coach. Ironic, too, because Franklin is never up for these types of honors.
You can search high and low for a hall of fame that Franklin is a part of, and you won’t find it. No coaches’ hall of fame. No state hall of fame. No national one either.
If Franklin is a member of a hall of fame, my Google searching prowess has failed me.
On his basketball record alone, he should be a hall of famer. He has won 11 state championships as the head boys basketball coach at Millwood. That’s more prep basketball titles than any other coach, alive or dead, male or female in Oklahoma history.
Think of all the great high school coaches this state has produced. Bertha Teague. Jenks Simmons. Even Eddie Sutton and Sherri Coale spent some time in the high school ranks. None of those greats won anywhere close to the number of titles that Franklin has won. That should be enough to get him into a hall of fame.
But the thing is, his greatness is so much bigger than those on-court triumphs. He is a maker of men, a builder of leaders. He has helped to encourage and empower generation after generation of athletes at Millwood.
He did it as a longtime football assistant. He did it as a basketball assistant before becoming the head coach 30 years ago. And he continues to do it to this day.
One of his former players called him an “unsung hero.”
Maybe the reason that no hall of fame has ever come calling is because Franklin could care less about individual honors or personal accolades. He doesn’t ask for them. Heck, I get the feeling like he doesn’t even like them.
But Franklin deserves them.
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