Julius Franks, Jr., is believed to be the first African American coach at Catholic Central. Coach Franks coached football from 1949-1951.
Born in Hamtramck, Coach Franks played football at the University of Michigan, where he earned All-Big Ten and All-American honors and was President of the “M” Club in 1942. Coach Franks was inducted into the University of Michigan Hall of Fame in 1982.
Coach Franks spent three seasons on the CC sidelines under Head Coach Robert Wines, and left CC with a record of 12-11-1. The 1952 Shamrock Yearbook indicates that both coaches were let go as the school shifted away from full-time coaches in order to save costs as the 6565 West Outer Drive campus was built.
Coach Franks graduated from the University of Michigan Dental School in 1951, the only African American in that class, and opened up a private practice in Grand Rapids.
In addition to his work in private practice, Dr. Franks was a Civil Rights leader and worked to desegregate neighborhoods and develop new housing opportunities for minorities in the Grand Rapids area.
“Teach Me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge” is the motto of the Basilian Fathers and the sacred mission of Catholic Central High School. For ninety years, the graduates of Catholic Central have made a positive impact locally, nationally, and around the world.