Doane College football coach Matt Franzen has been nominated by the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) for the NAIA's Coach of Character Award. Each conference is able to nominate one coach for this award. Franzen, in his fifth year as head coach for the Tigers, led Doane to an 8-2 record this past season and Top 25 national ranking.
The NAIA Coach of Character Award is an annual award given to a head coach of an NAIA institution. The nominee must be employed by the institution a minimum of 5 years and must be clearly outstanding in embracing the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative, methods of teaching character through sport, and community leadership through volunteering, service or other means.
During his time at the helm of the Tiger program, Franzen has instilled six standards of performance that the players and staff are expected to uphold. The areas in which he emphasizes are professionalism, integrity, excellence, team before self, risk/reward awareness and an ever expanding worldview.
Doane College President Jacque Carter had the following to say, "We truly enjoyed the positive and fun atmosphere surrounding Doane Football, in this, my first year at Doane. Every successful team needs a great leader, and we are fortunate to have Coach Franzen to lead our football program. He is a great mentor for the young men in our program."
This past year, Franzen was named the AFCA Regional Co-Coach-of-the-Year. He has been active in the Crete community and has encouraged his players to be involved as well. Each spring, the team participates in a community clean-up project in town. This past October, the team in conjunction with the Doane pep band, helped move the local TrueValue Hardware store to a new location. Doane football also puts on a Youth Day for community children. Coach Franzen has also served on the Grace United Methodist Church finance committee and as coordinator of the Nebraska Shrine Bowl South camp.
Anthony Dunn, the GPAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, has had the opportunity to learn from Coach Franzen the past four years. He shared in a letter of recommendation about Coach Franzen several areas in which he learned about character from both actions and words.
"The big rule that Coach had was ‘don't let your teammates down,'" Dunn said. "He has rebuilt the relationship between the program and the community. During fall two-a-days, he gives each freshman a big brother, or mentor, and does a lot of team building activities. The most fun individual day every season is Youth Day. Every thing he asks us to do, he does too, and this is why we love playing for him."