Alya Mehrtash cub writer
UPDATE: Despite his original plans to only teach at Horace Mann, Franks has now returned to Beverly to coach full time.
After graduating, many high-schoolers often look forward to seeing what their future holds beyond what they left back home, but girls varsity soccer coach Ryan Franks was not one of those students.
Before he returned as an educator to become a prominent face in the athletic department, Franks walked the halls of Beverly as a student.
“My experience in this school was incredible,” Franks said. “I had so many teachers and coaches that inspired me, that I connected with, and that motivated me to excel both in the classroom and as a student athlete.”
During his high school career, Franks played baseball, soccer and football. But above all, he thrived on the soccer pitch more than any other field and continued to play in college.
After graduating from Beverly, Franks was recruited to play soccer and attended three schools during his college career: California Polytechnic University Pomona, Loyola Marymount University and California State University Northridge, where he also received his Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.
However, his coaching career started only a year after he graduated from high school. In 1997, Franks was offered the head coach position for the Beverly boys frosh-soph team, and has been coaching here ever since. In the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, Franks was honored by the BHUSD for 20 years of teaching and coaching in the district.
“Coaching here has honestly been a dream. I love it,” Franks said. “I just feel really invested in the Athletic Department and specifically the soccer programs here because of the opportunity that I had, so it’s always been really meaningful to coach here at my alma mater.”
Franks’ assistant coach, Michael Sun, met him about 15 years ago during the summer conditioning program. Sun, who at the time was also an AYSO U19 girls coach, was simply an observer when he noticed Franks’ aptitude for coaching.
“As I continued to observe Ryan, it became obvious to me that he was an extremely knowledgeable and impressive coach, able to coach very smoothly and effortlessly,” Sun said. “He was, and continues to be, the most natural soccer coach I’ve ever come across.”
Throughout his career as an educator, Franks has not been the only one teaching.
“I’m always learning wherever I go. A lot of the student-athletes I have have taught me things,” Franks said. “For example, just how to really balance yourself. We have incredible, well-rounded student-athletes here who are able to juggle their academics with their athletics. I think that’s really important, even as a coach or a teacher. I’m a parent, I’m a coach, I’m a teacher, and we have to balance everything out, you know? It’s a constant balancing act for all of us, students and staff.”
However, Franks, who works at both Horace Mann and at Beverly, feels that his personal balancing act has lately gotten a little out of hand. This lack of balance has ultimately made him decide to take a break from coaching at Beverly.
“I just feel like I’m out of balance right now. I’ve got a lot going on. I need to slow down, so I just feel like now’s a good time,” Franks said. “Knowing myself, after a year I’ll be dying to come back and coach, but it’s hard to say [how long I’ll be gone.] Just being present and in the moment, I feel like it’s best for me and best for my family.”
During his break, Franks plans to focus on not only his other PE job at Horace Mann, but also “on being a great parent to my children, being there for them when they need help with their homework and also being there for them as a teacher and a coach. That’s going to be my priority for right now.”
In Sun’s eyes, the loss of this “knowledgeable, instinctive, and natural soccer coach” will inevitably have a huge mark on the program. But to Franks’ wife, Intervention Counselor Ali Norman-Franks, his coaching will always be a part of him.
“I think because he cares so much about work, about the soccer program, that he will bring it home with him,” Norman-Franks said.