LEMOND: Tony Franklin, author and consultant

Tony Franklin has parlayed his experience as a high school and collegiate football coach into a a very successful consultation business by doing what he does best, teach the game of football. Franklin has also dabbled in the writing craft, and has published two books.

One of the best high school football teams in the country is Hoover High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Hoover has been ranked by "USA Today" as one of the top teams in the nation over the past few years, and they have a former UK football coach to thank for it.

Tony Franklin has become one of the most successful consultants in the country. "USA Today" recently came to Kentucky to do a feature story on Franklin and his booming consulting business, and he says it all started with Hoover.

"I helped them attain their success, and they've helped my business to become successful," Franklin said. "Probably without their success, I would have half of the clients I have today."

Franklin, who grew up in Western Kentucky and played football at Murray State, has clients across the country, including 24 in Alabama and 15 in Kentucky. He says he would probably have more clients, but he allows the schools he works with to "blackball" their opponents from hiring him. In one year he consulted the 4A state champ, the 5A state runner-up, and 6A state champ in Alabama alone.

Franklin said, "The main thing is the blend of me being a college football coach, spending a tremendous amount of time as a high school coach, and even the year I spent with the Horsemen (an indoor football team) really helped me a lot in learning how to be a great teacher, and that's really what I consider myself."

Since he works with so many schools across the country, most schools send him tape of their games. Franklin will then analyze the tape to help his client or find some weaknesses or problems from their opponent.

Franklin joined Hal Mumme's staff at Kentucky in 1997 and worked as UK's Offensive Coordinator, Running Backs, Receivers and Quarterback coach until 2000.

He said, "It's a survival skill. I was trying to find a way to pay the bills and make a living, and the only thing I know how to do is coach football. Like my brother said, 'It's all you can do, so you better be good at it'."

Franklin has also become an author. His first book, "Fourth Down and Life to Go", chronicled the downfall of the UK football program under Mumme as Franklin saw it. His second book, "Victor's Victory", is a story about life rather than football. The book tells the story of a Hoover football player dying on the practice field from sudden cardiac arrest while Franklin was conducting drills, and how this player touched so many lives. "Victor's Victory" also brings to light the need for life-saving devices at high school events at all times.

"Victor's Victory" can be purchased at Joseph Beth Booksellers and other independent book stores. You can also order it on-line at victorsvictory.com, amazon.com, or at thetonyfranklin.com.

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