New Franco Era Underway with Clinics and Off-Season Lifting

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When new Tyrone Head Football Coach John Franco met with his team for the first time last month in the middle school large group instruction room, there was a lot of anticipation among the players.

Before returning as Tyrone’s head coach in February, Franco previously coached the Golden Eagles for 17 years from 1994-2011. Under Franco, Tyrone won Blair County’s first state football championship in 1999 and his teams were also state runner up in 1996 and 2011.

Following the 2011 season, Franco left to coach Altoona from 2012 to 2015.  Franco then assisted Steve Guthoff at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in State College for a year before taking the head coaching job at Penn Cambria in 2017.

When the Tyrone school board voted to reopen the head coaching position following the 2018 season, Franco decided it was time to return.

“I had a lot of former players come to me and ask me to apply and that meant a lot to me that former players would think that much of what we accomplished that they want me to come back,” said Franco.

I had a lot of former players come to me and ask me to apply and that meant a lot to me that former players would think that much of what we accomplished that they want me to come back”

— Head Coach John Franco

Since taking over last month, players have been in the weight room three days a week and at voluntary seven-on-seven clinics every Sunday under the direction of Coach Franco.

So far the players have responded well to their new coach.

“He is a very meticulous.  He is someone who expects respect, discipline and perfection. He’s someone you want as a leader and a coach,” said junior Brandon Homan.

According to Franco, one of the main reasons he wanted to come back is because he has never coached a better group of kids than he did at Tyrone.

“Tyrone has the toughest kids around, they will never quit,” said Franco.  

He also appreciates that Tyrone has strong community support when it comes to football. In the history of state championship football games, Tyrone still holds the record for the two largest crowds in PIAA championship history.

“We want to get the ‘team, toughness, Tyrone’ tradition back. When they see the white helmets with the “T” walk on the field, people should think that there is no way they can beat them, and when the game is over they don’t want to play Tyrone again,” Franco told his players in their initial meeting.

Franco said that the early emphasis with his players will be on discipline.

“Discipline is the one thing you can take from sports into your careers,” said Franco.

The players have already noticed this and seem to be responding well to his philosophy.

“You can tell his success has come from stressing the little things and enforcing discipline,” said junior Broc Zimmerman.

Franco said that he has both short and long term goals for the team.

In the short term, Franco wants to get the best players and athletes of the school out for football, get the program established, and to get the team to learn the new system. Franco has asked the seniors next year to show leadership in the program. They will be the ones that help put Franco’s program in place for the years to come.

I am looking forward to playing my senior season with my brothers and gunning for that district title”

— Junior Levi Blazer

The long term goals are the same as they always have been for Franco. “First, beat Bellwood, then make the playoffs, then win the District VI Championships, the Western final, and the State Championship,” said Franco.

“I think he is going to turn this program around,” said junior Kaleb Snook.

Franco will have Sunday evening workouts for quarterbacks, receivers, and running backs through May, and they will add linemen in later in the summer. In the meantime, the players will continue to lift Monday, Wednesday, and Friday if they are not playing another spring sport.

“I am looking forward to playing my senior season with my brothers and gunning for that district title,” said junior Levi Blazer.

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