Charlotte, NC – Vincennes' head coach Todd Franklin knocked off a pair of milestones in the span of three days in Hutchinson, KS. The ultimate achievement, a national title, helped Franklin earn the 2019 Spalding® NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Coach of the Year award.
Franklin expressed his thoughts regarding the announcement. "It means a lot. It's exciting because you achieve it because your team was good. We had a group of guys that I am very proud to have coached. This is a year we will remember not just because we won a national championship. We are going to remember it because we did it with a great group of guys who we really feel did it the right way.
The great thing is it means a lot to a lot of people. It means a lot to a lot of people who have played for us. It means a lot to people around Vincennes who hadn't seen a championship since 1972."
Entering the 2019 national tournament with 598 career wins, Franklin guided the tradition-rich Trailblazers to a pair of opening round wins to join the coveted 600-win club. Two more victories in Hutchinson, KS led to the highly sought-after national championship trophy, ending Vincennes' 47-year title drought. The title is the fourth in program history for the Trailblazers, tied for the most in NJCAA history.
Vincennes' national title came on the biggest stage as the 2019 championship game was televised live via the CBS Sports Network for the first time in the association's history. Franklin earned Coach of the Tournament honors after the Trailblazers won four games in the tournament by an average of 11.8 points per game.
"If you had to pick a year to do it, this was a great year to do it because of the great group of guys. They epitomized what we try to be. They were a bunch of guys who were overachievers. By the time it was over, they were a really good basketball team who I thought was probably the best team from start to finish throughout the season, and they did it as a team. If you are going to win one as a coach, you hope it's that kind of team and it was."
"Forever there was 'we've done everything else' - final fours and elite eights. We had good guys who played all over the country, graduated and have gone on to be good people. There was only one 'but'. But we hadn't won it. The biggest thing about this particular national championship is it eliminated that "but", and allows you to not only enjoy this year, but to enjoy all the really good years that we've had. It was great for everybody who has been involved with our basketball family."
Ranked inside the top-five throughout the duration of the regular season, including a week at No. 1, Franklin led Vincennes to an overall record of 34-2 on the year. The Trailblazers earned the No. 3 seed in the national tournament, a seventh-consecutive postseason trip under Franklin which ranks second all-time.
For his efforts in 2019, Franklin was also awarded the 2019 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) NJCAA Coach of the Year Award.