Franklin Named Lobo Track and Field/Cross Country Coach
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  06/18/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

June 18, 2007

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - University of New Mexico athletics director Paul Krebs announced today that Joe Franklin has been named head track and field/cross country coach. Franklin comes to UNM after 12 years as the head track and field/cross country coach at Butler University. He replaces Matt Henry who retired after seven years at New Mexico.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome Joe and his family to New Mexico," Krebs said. "We're fortunate to be in a state that cares a great deal about this sport and we have a proud tradition of track and field and cross country success here at UNM. Joe has done an outstanding job throughout his coaching career and is widely respected around the country. He's passionate about this sport and eager to build on the strong foundation of success that has been established in this program in the sprints, distance and field events.

Franklin, 39, is the seventh men's and fifth women's head track and field coach at New Mexico.

During his time in Indianapolis, Franklin built the Butler program into a national force in men's and women's cross country. He led eight teams (six men's, two women's) to the NCAA Cross Country Championships between 1998-2006 with seven squads earning top-25 finishes. In 2004, Franklin was named NCAA Cross Country Coach of the Year after leading the Butler men to a program-best fourth place finish at the national meet.

The Bulldogs have sent a team to the NCAA Championships five of the last six years and dominated the Horizon Conference in cross country. In 2006, the men's team won its ninth straight conference title, while the women won their fifth in a row.

Franklin earned conference Coach of the Year honors 17 times in cross country and was named Men's Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 1998. He also earned conference Indoor Track Coach of the Year honors twice at Butler.

Under Franklin, Butler athletes earned track or cross country All-America honors eight times, won 128 conference titles and earned 276 all-conference awards. The Bulldogs had a pair of runners place among the top-5 at the NCAA Cross Country Championships with Julius Mwangi taking third in 1998 and Mark Tucker placing fourth in 2002. On the track, Butler had three outdoor All-Americans with Victoria Mitchell winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase national title in 2005, Becky Lyne finishing third in the 800 in 2003 and Fraser Thompson placing seventh in the 5,000 in 1999.

Butler athletes also fared well in the classroom under Franklin's watch. The men and women both posted team grade point averages over 3.2 in the fall of 2006 and Thompson earned a Rhodes Scholarship in 2002 - the highest academic award ever by a Butler University student.

"I'm excited and thrilled," Franklin said. "This is a very unique opportunity, especially when you look at the great tradition and history that New Mexico has had in cross country and track and field. I think the University of New Mexico and city of Albuquerque are tremendous settings for competition and training and places that provide unique opportunities for student-athletes."

Franklin takes over a program at UNM that improved dramatically in cross country and track and field over the past seven years under Henry.

The Lobos sent five athletes to the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships - the most since 1990 - with senior Jeremy Johnson earning All-America honors in the 10,000. Since 2001, UNM track and field athletes have won 27 Mountain West Conference indoor/outdoor event titles and earned all-conference honors 117 times.

The New Mexico men finished a program-best ninth at the 2004 NCAA Cross Country Championships, led by national runner-up Matt Gonzales. The women's cross country team, meanwhile, matched its best all-time finish by placing second in the MWC in 2005, followed by a third place finish in '06.

Franklin said he has lofty expectations for the future of the UNM track and cross country programs.

"The goals for the program are always to see where we can max out in every event," he said. "Let's see how high we can go. Let's see if we can get to be a top-10 team in cross country. Let's see if we can get to be a top-25 team in track and field. We want to have athletes in the sprints, throws, jumps, vaults and distance events qualifying for the NCAAs consistently and then see if we can build on that and start moving up in the team standings."

A native of Greencastle, Ind., Franklin was a four-year letterman in track at Purdue University and a two-time all-Big 10 Conference honoree in the 800 (2nd - 1989, 3rd - 1991). He received his bachelor's in Professional Writing in 1991 and his master's degree in Education Administration in 1994, both from Purdue.

Franklin and his wife, Melinda, have a 15-year-old son, Elijah.

The Joe Franklin File
Age: 39 (born March 1, 1968)
Birthplace: Greencastle, Ind.
Alma Mater: Purdue '91
Collegiate Athletic Experience: Purdue (middle distance - 1986-91)

Coaching Experience:
1991-92: Head Cross Country Coach, DePauw University - conference coach of the year

1992-94: Assistant Men's Cross Country/Track & Field Coach, Purdue University

1994-07: Head Men's & Women's Cross Country/Track & Field Coach, Butler University - national cross country coach of the year; NCAA regional XC coach of the year; conference XC coach of the year 17 times; 2-time conference indoor T&F coach of the year