RUSSELL “LEFTY” FRANZ
Russell Franz won 11 varsity letters at SS. Peter & Paul High School as a three-sport standout in basketball, football and baseball. He went on to play minor league baseball as a left-handed pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization. After spending 3 ½ years in the Navy during World War II, he graduated from Central Michigan University in 1950. His coaching career began at Grand Blanc High School where he was baseball coach and assistant football and basketball coach for one year. Franz moved on to Bay City St. Stanislaus High School in the 1952-53 season and coached there 16 seasons, winning nine district basketball championships. He also coached football and baseball while at St. Stan’s. In 13 seasons as baseball coach his teams won 10 league titles and posted an overall record of 138-23. His football teams were 55-53-5 in 16 years while claiming two league titles. Franz then coached basketball at Bay City All Saints Central High School for the next 14 years (1968-69 to 1981-82). Along the way the Cougars won back-to-back Class C basketball championships in 1974 and ’75. He was Michigan’s Class C coach of the Year in ’74 and the Associated Press Coach of the Year in both ’74 and ’75. Franz then coached basketball at Pinconning High School for seven seasons, compiling a 95-66 record. Franz’s coaching career spanned 37 years and he finished with an impressive 545-215 record. Franz, who was a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors in 1990, was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1987, the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame in 1989, and the Bay County Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.