0

Getting to Know ... Nathan Franklin

Nathan Franklin, 32, is in his first year as athletic and activities director at Norcross High School.

In this latest installment of "Getting to Know...," the father of three talks with staff writer Corey Clark on a variety of topics, ranging from tonight's big game to his wife's favorite movie to his future goals.

CC: All right, I'm putting you on the spot - who wins tonight's game and what is the score?

NF: Oh my goodness. Man, you put me on the spot right away. Well, I'm going to have to back the Blue Devils. But as for a score? I'll say 21-14 Blue Devils.

CC: You know, you're the only A.D. in the state that has a No. 1-ranked football team and a No. 1-ranked basketball team. Seems like your work is basically done?

NF: Well, that can be a good thing and a bad thing. I was very fortunate to walk in at a good time. And you've obviously got to mention (former Norcross A.D.) Mike Emery and the work he did here. That was evident with his promotion to county A.D., and he spent his time here hiring quality people and hiring quality coaches that do what's right for the kids ... and we're blessed in having what we've got right now. The true test is can we keep doing it? Can we continue this success?

CC: You went to Dacula High with (former N.C. State two-sport star) Terry Harvey, who was the better athlete? You or him?

NF: (Laughs) Geez, is that even a question? I was lucky to be on the same field with Terry. He was beyond his years in leadership and athletic ability, too. When he walked on the field, everybody had a different mentality, they all fed off him.

CC: What was it like to play for Coach (Kevin) Maloof?

NF: You know, he came over my senior year, and both Maloofs - as well as some other coaches on that team - are the reason I'm in education. Because I saw the ability they had to make a lasting effect on students. And by the time I graduated, I said I wanted to have that same ability to make an impact on kids like they did for me.

CC: Did you talk trash as a player?

NF: Oh no. I was usually huffing and puffing because I was playing both ways. We weren't very deep personnel-wise.

CC: Who is the best high school athlete you've ever seen?

NF: It's like that question they used to always ask about Muhammad Ali, how well would he do against Mike Tyson in his prime. I would say given the time period that they played in I would say Terry Harvey was the best I've ever seen. Francoeur might be just as good, or even better, but I think personally Terry was the best I ever saw.

CC: Where did you and your wife (Julie) go on your first date?

NF: Are you ready for this? I know the date. It was Jan. 3, 1993, and we went to this steakhouse next to Gwinnett Place Mall that's not there anymore. We went with my best friend, which was her cousin, and his date ... we started dating then and we never stopped. We dated for 31⁄2 years and then in a 10-day period in 1996, I went from graduating UGA to getting my first job, at Dacula, to getting married. That was all in a 10-day span.

CC: Kind of a busy week and a half for you there?

NF: Yeah. I went from living at home with mama to moving out, getting married, graduating and getting a job in 10 days.

CC: What is your wife's favorite movie?

NF: Wow, you're trying to get me in trouble. I should probably know that. I guess she'd kill me if I said "Predator." I guess we could put down that movie with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts ("Pretty Woman"). We'll put that on there. I don't know if that's her favorite, but it sounds good.

CC: Did you know you always wanted to be an A.D.? Was that always the goal?

NF: No, not really. I obviously never could have foreseen that (I would be an A.D. so soon). But having kids changes a lot. Spending time with my children was a big influence on that decision. I miss coaching like crazy. I miss the impact it has on kids, but one of the big reasons I got into administration was to have more time to spend with my own kids. And I still get the chance to affect the whole school and I get to stay close to the athletes and the activities.

CC: Do you have any future goals? I mean, you have the No. 1 football and basketball teams in the state? There's nowhere to go but down, right?

NF: (Laughs) You never really know what the future holds. Right now, my goal is to be as good as I can be, and serve the coaches and the kids the best I can as an athletic director.