The coaching bug first grabbed a hold of Coldstream’s Dean Francks in 1996-97 as a university student in the Lower Mainland.
After classes, the self-proclaimed “player of every sport” would head out to Langley and coach the senior boys basketball team at what was then Langley’s only secondary school, H.D. Stafford (now a middle school).
When his two daughters, Taylor and Kristen, became athletes in Greater Vernon, whether at school or in the community, Francks would get whatever certifications were required and was usually behind or on the bench.
His volunteer efforts culminated in 2022-23, with Kristen, his youngest, graduating from Kal Secondary. The father-daughter duo won the B.C. Senior Girls AA Volleyball Championship in Merritt, and Francks guided Kal’s senior girls basketball team to a 2-2 record at the provincial finals, an impressive accomplishment given more than half the roster was made up of junior secondary players.
Francks, 52, executive director of North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society (NOYFSS) by day, volunteer coach by night and weekend, has been named one of three winners of B.C. School Sports’ Citation of Excellence Award.
The honour recognizes outstanding coaches and their distinguished contributions to their sport and athletes. The recipient guides student-athletes to success through the philosophy of fair play and sportsmanship for a sustained period, while displaying values consistent with B.C. School Sports.
“It means a lot to be recognized,” said Francks. “It was a great year with the volleyball girls winning it all, and we qualified for senior girls provincials with six Grade 10s to keep the basketball tradition at Kal alive and well.
“I love coaching the kids.”
Whether he returns to Kal as a community coach for the 2023-24 remains to be seen. Kristen is on her way to New Westminster to play basketball for the Douglas College Royals while oldest daughter Taylor has completed her post-secondary volleyball career at Victoria’s Camosun College with the Chargers.
“I think I’m finished,” he chuckled. “A lot of people have been asking me to coach again.”
Francks will accept the provincial honour at a special gala evening in Whistler Friday, May 12.