Millwood superintendent Gloria Griffin didn't have to look far for references on her school's new football coach.
Darwin Franklin, the son of Millwood's Hall of Fame boys basketball coach Varryl Franklin, was hired to lead the football team, a move that became official Monday night.
“I'm proud and excited and everything else,” Varryl Franklin said. “It's a great situation, and I'm looking forward to seeing him work. I told him I'm gonna sit back and watch him sweat a little while.”
Darwin Franklin sees it as an opportunity to further the Millwood tradition of impacting the lives of young people through athletics — just like he learned playing for men like his father, Leodies Robinson, Don Willis and others at Millwood.
“This is a great feeling and a great opportunity to try and give back to the younger guys who didn't have a chance to experience the leadership of Coach Robinson and Coach Willis and the other coaches who helped shape my life,” Darwin Franklin said. “The guys who are on the staff now are invested in these kids, so I'm just trying to continue that tradition, and try to leave a mark in these guys' lives positively.
“When they leave, I want them to look back and say they're glad they went to Millwood, because they're a better man for going there.”
Darwin Franklin is currently on staff at Centennial High School, where he served as a football assistant under Willis in the fall.
He previously was a head coach at Washington High School in Kansas City, Kan., then joined Willis' staff at Lakeview High in Garland, Texas. He came with Willis when he took over at Centennial last season. Willis had previously worked at Millwood for 22 seasons, including nine as head coach.
Varryl Franklin has been Millwood's basketball coach since 1978, leading the team to 12 of its state-record 15 championships. He also served as a football assistant for nearly 30 years.
Darwin Franklin replaces Tony Henry, who stepped down last month after he and his wife accepted teaching jobs on an oil base in Saudi Arabia.
“I'm not giving up coaching, I'm just taking a break,” Henry said. “I enjoyed my time at Millwood and I wish them the best.
“My wife and I are excited for this opportunity. The benefits are great. Our three kids will get the chance to travel and see the world, so they're excited, too.”
Henry will be working for Saudi Aramco, teaching the children of the oil company's employees.
Millwood moved quickly to get a coach hired in time for spring practice, and bringing another Franklin into the building is exciting.
“With him being a former student at Millwood, we welcome him and think he will be a great addition to our staff,” Griffin said. “It will be a joy to have him and his father working together.”