BY JON REITER
Chuck Franz, the most decorated athlete in the history of Clarksville High School, has one more honor to add to his long list of accomplishments — Hall of Famer.
Franz, who was honored at last night’s boys’ basketball game against Salem, will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle on March 20. He attended last night’s game with other members of Clarksville’s 1979 sectional championship team and his mother Eva Jo Franz, who still resides in Clarksville.
“It’s really been a lot of fun being here tonight,” said Franz, who went on to play basketball at Indiana University under Bob Knight and was a member of IU’s 1981 NCAA Championship team. “It’s great to see these guys that I played with - gosh, it’s probably been 20-25 years. It’s always good to come back.”
Franz led Clarksville to back-to-back sectional championships in 1978 and 79, and led the state in scoring in 1979 with a 32.7 average. In the sectional championship game in 1979 against New Albany, Franz had a memorable game, scoring 51 points and nailing a 25-footer at the buzzer to down the Bulldogs.
Franz went on to make the All-State team and Indiana All-Star team en route to Bloomington and Knight. He backed up Isiah Thomas at the guard spot at IU his sophomore year and started 10 games as a senior.
Currently, he resides in Bloomington, where he works for the Cook Group as Chief Information Officer. His three kids inherited his love for athletics - daughter Torin, an elementary school teacher, coaches girls’ basketball at Bloomington South; his oldest son Lucas plays football at Wabash College; and his youngest son Keenan plays basketball and football at Bloomington South.
As far as the rebuilding job Tom Crean has done with the Hoosiers, Franz said he’s a fan.
“I think it was awfully big to get Cody (Zeller), but even before that you could tell Tom was instilling things in them that I had instilled in me when I played at IU - defense, rebounding and hustling on every play. It’s Indiana basketball — he understands that.”
Franz also says he keeps any eye on the Generals from Bloomington and likes what he sees in this year’s squad. “I follow them on the Internet, and really they remind me of our 1979 team,” he said. “Last year they only lost three games, and that’s pretty similar to what happened in my junior year. They play well together - I think they’ve got everything it takes.”