LEO (SAM) FRANZ
he legendary prep basketball coach won two state championships at two different schools.
Franz, who was an excellent athlete at SS. Peter & Paul High School, turned the trick in 1953 at St. Mary’s Cathedral when the Maroons won the Class C state title with a 59-57 win over Muskegon St. Mary. He posted a 226-94 record in his 18 years at SMC.
Franz, who was employed at Eaton Manufacturing, also coached St. Mary’s football team from 1949-53.
St. Mary’s won the Valley Parochial League title in 1950 by going undefeated.
He took over the coaching position at St. Stephen in 1966 and won his second state title in ’69 when the Titans defeated Grosse Point St. Paul’s, 48-43.
His Titan teams reached the state finals three other times.
He was named to both the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame and the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame.
Franz also coached St. Stephen’s football teams for five years, including the perfect 8-0 mark in 1970.
His resume also includes a pair of state championships in golf while at St. Stephen’s.
He would up his coaching career at Merrill and retired with a 526-196 record.
He, along with his brother Russell “Lefty” Franz, became the only brother coaching combination in Michigan to win 500 games each.