A new era is set to begin for the Archbold boys basketball program in 2018-19, albeit with a familiar face leading the way. Joe Frank, 57, will slide over on the bench from his position of varsity assistant and head coach of the junior varsity squad, to take over as the head man this winter.
He wasn’t sure if his time would ever come, but when longtime coach Doug Krauss stepped down after last season, he jumped at the opportunity.
“(It) was a goal that I’d set early in my career,” explained Frank. “But, then as the years went on and we had the run we had with coach (Doug) Krauss, and the staff that we’ve had, I didn’t know if that was ever gonna work out. Didn’t necessarily want to see that come to an end because of all the success we’ve had. But when he decided that he was gonna step down, I just decided I still have some energy and some passion left in me to try and take my shot at it as head coach.”
Frank, a 1979 graduate of Archbold, has spent pretty much his entire teaching and coaching career at his alma mater. After getting his degree from Defiance College in four years, he taught for a year at Oregon Clay before returning to the place he grew up.
He joined the basketball program as JV coach in year two at Archbold. It was a position he held throughout Krauss’ tenure.
But why agree to take the keys to the program now? The answer was simple for Frank, this is his dream position.
“That would be my only head coaching job that I would ever be interested in,” he said. “I just didn’t want to go somewhere to coach and say I was a head coach (just) to be a head coach. It’s certainly been a life-long goal. Obviously now, this ‘dream’ as I would call it became a reality. And now the reality of it is there’s a lot of work to do to try and uphold and maintain the tradition of the program I’m inheriting.”
Frank has the full support of the administration.
“He has been an integral part of the success of our basketball program for 34 years as our JV coach,” said Archbold Athletic Director Allan Gladieux on why Frank was chosen for the position. “Joe is more than qualified for the position and has paid his dues. Before Joe was a coach, he also a played at Archbold. He understands the history of the program. I look forward to working with Joe this winter.”
Gladieux is obviously familiar with Frank, not just from basketball, but when he served as head softball coach for 15 seasons before stepping down in 2016.
“Joe is committed to the school and community,” said Gladieux. “Being our former head softball coach, he understands the importance of being well organized and understands what it takes to run a successful program.”
Frank will likely apply the many lessons he learned from watching coach Krauss during his illustrious career – a career that included 561 wins.
“He did things the right way – there weren’t any shortcuts,” said Frank of the recently retired Krauss. “He just kept pounding fundamentals into our kids and said stay together. Preached the team. We had a lot of kids buy into that. We had a lot of great athletes as he would readily admit. And, it was a winning formula that lasted a long time.”
Under Frank, the Bluestreaks will still make defense their number one priority. And if they work hard and show attention to detail, everything else should fall into place.
“Obviously it’s gonna be defense first,” the new coach said. “(Offensively) we’re gonna emphasize spreading the wealth around – sharing the ball. Being good teammates. Trying to outwork the team that we’re playing against.”
Gritty and hardworking would be adjectives used to describe the Archbold teams under Krauss. Frank is looking to continue that tradition.
“I will want them to be identified as a team that works really hard,” he explained. “That puts defense first. A team that stays together and plays together. To be known as a team that does things the right way. You win or you lose with class. A lot of the other stuff takes care of itself.”
However, there may be some slight changes under the new regime.
“There are gonna be a few subtle changes,” said Frank. “We may play a little bit more zone, try a few different things that way. Switching defenses a little bit more. But man-to-man is still gonna be our base defense. I think every coach would have some little subtle differences that they’re gonna change from the previous coach. But I think a lot of people will walk away after they’ll see us play next year and say, ‘that looks a lot like the previous (Archbold) teams.’ I hope they can say that because that would be a compliment.”
Given the success of the program under Krauss, pressure comes with the territory of being head basketball coach at Archbold. Frank feels he is up to the challenge.
“If I’m not ready now I never will be after 34 years as an assistant,” said Frank. “That’s not to say that we’re gonna have the success that we just had. That’s gonna be hard to match in terms of wins and losses. But at the end of the day, my goal is to provide the kids with some stability. And to put them in the position to succeed.”
The new coach did not want to speculate as to how long he could coach, but it was clear he is committed to the future of the program.
“As long as I feel like I’m providing the kids an opportunity to have some success and put them in position to succeed,” he said. “I’m enjoying it and the kids are enjoying it. Like I said, I’ll take that year by year.
“Now that being said, I don’t plan on staying a year or two and saying, ‘well I had my fun now it’s time to leave.’ I’m not gonna put a number on anything that way because there are just too many variables that can enter into it, including things like health.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010