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Franklin ready to roll as Golden Bears new head coach

POSTED December 03, 2011
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                           Franklin ready to roll as Golden Bears new head coach

            THOMASTON – The eyes radiate success. The tone commands attention and demands respect. The demeanor in general exudes passion. Gary Franklin is ready to roll.

            The 30-year old Franklin will be the new presence on the Thomaston High sidelines this season, replacing long-time boys basketball coach Joe Frascatore who resigned in May. Area fans will remember the name from a few years back when Franklin was scoring more than 1,500 points for Frankie Cantadore and Torrington Christian Academy.

            Franklin’s ready. When he was appointed to the position in May he talked about how it was a hope of his from the moment he began teaching at THS four years ago.  The summer days couldn’t move by quick enough and the fall almost dragged by.

            Franklin didn’t just count the days he sweated through him. Once he got the job he went to the gym.  “I don’t want to just tell guys what they need to do, I want to show them.” He proceeded to lose more than 50 lbs. while welcoming a second child into the family. This is a guy zoned in.

            There’s your commitment from a guy who will still challenge any of his players to a three-point shooting contest and probably win most or all of them despite some objections from some his players. Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t risk the house betting against him.

            Franklin couldn’t wait for the beginning of conditioning practice and when the balls came out of the supply room for the actual opening of practice Monday, Franklin is not necessarily a demonstrative guy was in a quiet animated state.

            The Bears saw their first look at another team Saturday afternoon with a trip to East Hampton to scrimmage the Bellringers, also with their own first-year coach, former Housatonic girls coach Parker Strong.

              Getting the equipment together in the THS gym, Franklin talked about some butterflies in the stomach. All of which is a good sign for a Golden Bear program that has been on a rollercoaster of inconsistency for a decade now.

              The coach is hungry and he wants not just effort but more than a few wins to show for the effort.

              But Franklin also understands issues off the court that should serve him well as begins on the road for what should be a long trip.  His challenge is not just the game itself, but the culture that has developed around the Thomaston game.

               The program has not had a winning season for a decade. Three years ago there was an 11-11 mark but that is the best that it has been. Basketball is cyclical for the most part with small schools, but there has been frustration inBearville.

               As a freshmen coach a few years back and a world history teacher in the Thomaston system, Franklin has heard the boo-birds, and they have been a large flock at times. He has also seen the effect on the players.

               He knows he has to teach them how to win again. It starts with discipline. Being in the system, he    knows what goes on during the day. The grade thing? Do your work or do your time – on the bench. Not performing, not playing. No debate.

               On the court there has been an early strong emphasis on conditioning and basics. Early practices have been less on offensive sets than understanding some of the fundamentals. Boxing out, rebounding and playing man-to-man defense are the ideas being reinforced.

             One practice was a symphony of instruction on boxing out, a weakness for the Bears in the recent years. There has been a lot of reacquainting the team to playing-in your-face instead of in-your-place dictated by the heavy use of zone in recent years.

              The constant has been hard-earned sweat and a constant whistle and reminder of how the little things like making layups win games. Or lose games.

               Franklin also understands there has been an element of resiliency in the program. Awful starts in recent years have given way to awesome finishes as with last year when the Bears started out 1-9 and then went 7-3 the second half to earn a spot in the state tournament.

             Despite the lack of impressive records the Bears have earned a spot in the post-season the last three seasons so there is some winning and attitude to build on.

             Thomaston is on the road against Shepaug and home for the next five games.  The opportunity for a good start presents itself.

              There are a lot of starts going on here. A new season with a new coach. Franklin is ready. Good efforts won’t satisfy. Good efforts with good wins will find a better reaction. The passionate pursuit for perfection begins.

Gary Franklin is ready

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