John Franz grew up in Buhler, Kansas, and began his freshman year at Tabor College in the fall of 1957. During his four years at Tabor, John participated in basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, and track. In the spring of 1961, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and a minor in Physical Education.
John's participation in five sports while attending Tabor College is an outstanding accomplishment. He played and lettered three years in baseball. He would have played four years,; however, his junior year Tabor did not field a baseball team. John participated in tennis as a sophomore and lettered in tennis his junior year.
The three other sports John played while at Tabor were basketball, soccer, and track and field. He lettered all four years in each of these sports. As a basketball player, he was known for his quickness and was described as a team player. In track and field, John held the Tabor College javelin school record all four years with his best mark being 179'¼". His junior year, John led the track and field team with 53½ points earned for the season and tied for the most points earned his senior year with 70 points.
In 1960, John was a senior member of the soccer team that finished 3rd in the NAIA Tournament. He was the team's Most Valuable Player that year and played at the center halfback position. He was noted as an outstanding defensive player and set up numerous offensive drives. Delmer Reimer, who was John's coach in 1960, described John as "an exceptional player and outstanding competitor."
After graduating from Tabor College, John served as Tabor Assistant Coach in Soccer and Basketball and Head Coach in Baseball for one year. He then took a job as a Middle School teacher/coach for District 313 in Buhler, Kansas. He did this for 35 years, from 1962-1977.
During these years of teaching and coaching John launched another career as a high school and college football official. He officiated high school football games for 40 years. And, for 20 of those years, John worked as a college football official for the Kansas College Athletic Conference, Kansas Jayhawk Jr. College Conference, and the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association. During that run, he was a football official for two High School Kansas State Championships, five College Shrine Bowl Games, two Kansas Jr. College State Championships, and three Jr. College Beef Bowl Games played at Dodge City, Kansas.
Another of John's passions, which he continues to do to this day, is working as a starter for middle school, high school and college track and field meets. He has started meets for State AAU and USA Track and Field Young Championships; Region 6 Jr. College State Indoor and Outdoor Championships; KCAC Championships; Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championships; a Missouri Valley Championship; and has been asked to be one of the track and field starters at the National Junior College Championships now in 2009.
John is married to Elaine Karber Franz.
John Franz was truly an exceptional athlete while at Tabor College and through the years has impacted countless middle school, high school and college student-athlete lives. We honor him tonight as a member of the Tabor College Athletic Hall of Fame.