My name is Mike Francis. I played for you back in 1988 at Encina High. You convinced me to play ball after you saw me work out in the gym one afternoon. I mainly sat the bench and knocked guys around in practice. Your practices were some of the most challenging I had ever been a part of, but your support was there too. You were the first coach who really pushed me farther than I thought I could go but also believed that I could go on to play in college – albeit football (ha ha). I also learned that sacrificing for the team and practicing to be the best were more valuable in my growth than playing or even scoring more points than the other team.
Needless to say I went on to college and played football. I played on the 1991 NAIA National Championship team at Georgetown College (KY). I double majored in English and Communication Arts. I live outside of Ashland, Kentucky with my wife Kristen and my two boys, Ford (5) and Shepard (2). I am a teacher at a Day Treatment Center for at-risk youth. I teach English and Social Studies and I coach football and started helping out with basketball. Which has brought me full circle to my experiences with you.
I wanted to thank you for your commitment to us, your intensity, drive, and desire to make us better. Thank you for your belief in our future even though many of us had no support at home – you were there saying it was possible.
Well for me it was possible. I wanted to thank you for what you did then in helping me and others I’m sure.
I wish you and the team at the Key Worldwide all the happiness and praise you deserve for doing what you do. Thank you for being my coach.