Joe Franklin enters his eighth year as the head track and field/cross country coach at the University of New Mexico. Franklin took over the program on June 18, 2007 after 13 years in the same role at Butler University. He replaced Matt Henry who retired after seven years at New Mexico. Franklin is the seventh men's and fifth women's head track and field coach at UNM.
At the time of his hiring Franklin said, "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 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."
Since that time Franklin has wasted little time making his mark at New Mexico and achieved many of the goals he laid out in his hiring.
In 2008 the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Association created a "Program of the Year" award to honor those teams who succeeded in all three sports — cross country, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field — on a yearly basis at the NCAA Championships. Since the awards inception New Mexico has made the list five times on the men's side and once on the women's side. In fact, New Mexico is one of only two schools to to finish in the final men's standings each of the last five years, joining Texas. UNM is also one of just six institutions (including Florida State, Texas, Oregon, Stanford and BYU) to have placed in the final men's standings at least five times.
Franklin has also assembled a considerable collection of championship hardware while helming UNM. Since the start of the 2009-10 school year, the Franklin-led Lobos have claimed the most conference titles of any Mountain West member, with 14 total (five women's cross-country; five men's cross-country; two men's indoor track & field; one men's outdoor track & field; one women's indoor track & field). Only departed member BYU comes close, with eight title in the same span.
On the heels of one of the strongest track and field campaigns in school history, Franklin and his Lobos produced arguably the strongest single season. New Mexico scored three of a possible four conference championships, nine All-Americans, 57 total All-Mountain West honorees, five coach of the year plaudits and an abundance of academic recognitions. Indoors, the Lobos swept the Mountain West men's and women's conference titles for the first time in program history as the men rode six individual titles and the women three. New Mexico also shined as they hosted the NCAA Indoor Championships with Luke Caldwell and Kendall Spencer earning First-Team All-American recognitions. Outdoors, the Lobos again rose to the top of the conference with the men claiming the MW crown and the women placing second. The men, behind superb balance across the board, earned the program's first "Triple Crown" by winning the MW titles in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. New Mexico also qualified 26 athletes to the opening round of the NCAA Championships before advancing eight to the national finals as Peter Callahan earned First-Team All-American honors.
Academically, the Lobos also performed exceptionally in 2014, with Caldwell earning the All-America of the Year honors (the top academic honor in the nation) for all Division I track & field athletes. He was also one of three Lobos, along with Patrick Zacharias and Gabe Aragon, to earn First-Team Academic All-America honors.
2013 saw New Mexico reach unprecedented success, highlighted by the men’s first-ever Mountain West Indoor Championship. Behind seven total individual titles and a program-record 15 all-conference selections, the UNM men secured their title. The ladies also performed admirably indoors, as Josephine Moultrie (800, mile) and Kendra Schaaf (5,000-meter run) won individual crowns en route to pacing the women to second. At the NCAA Indoor Championships, Luke Caldwell (the school record-holder in the indoor and outdoor 5K) and Floyd Ross garnered All-American nods. Outdoors, the women vied with nationally ranked San Diego State for the conference crown, but placed second. Still, the women generated one of their best showing outdoors as they scored the most points in program history, 145.5, since 1985. The men, despite finishing third in the team standings, erupted for seven individual titles. Caldwell and Ross again claimed All-American status at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Gabe Aragon and Thomas Trujillo also earned Academic All-America nods.
During the 2012 indoor season, New Mexico gained its third individual NCAA champion under Frankling, as Kendall Spencer won the long jump with a school-record leap of 26-3 1/2. Ross and Sarah Waldron also claimed All-American honors indoors, as well. UNM also shined at the conference meets, with the women finishing second indoors and the men placing third at both meets. Outdoors, Spencer again long jumped into the record books with an Olympic A standard leap that led the nation for over a month, while Ross nabbed a national runner-up finish in the triple jump and Waldron claimed another All-American nod at the outdoor championships.
In 2011, the Lobos sent their record setting distance medley relay to the NCAA Championship, where the squad took sixth to claim All-American honors. Both the men and women also placed third at the MWC Indoor Championships, before finishing as runner-ups at the MWC Outdoor Championships, the first time in program history both teams claimed second at the outdoor conference meet. UNM also sent twenty-nine athletes to the NCAA regional championship, the most ever. Out of that meet nine Lobos qualified for the NCAA championships, where Keith Gerrard and Rory Fraser earned All-American honors in the 10,000- and 5,000-meter races, respectively.
The 2010 indoor season saw Lee Emanuel win his second NCAA title in the mile, while Sandy Fortner, Chris Barnicle and Rory Fraser earned All-American honors. The Lobo men placed 8th at the NCAA indoor meet while the ladies finished 36th. UNM also made gains at the MWC championships, as the Lobo men placed third indoors (with a program-record point total) and were runner-ups (again with a program-record tally). Twenty six Lobos qualified for the NCAA regional championship and seven qualified their way to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. During the 2009 track season the Lobo men finished second at the MWC indoor meet, the highest ever finish to that point and then duplicated the highest outdoor finish in MWC history when they got third. Emanuel also nabbed the program’s first NCAA indoor individual title since 1977 as he took the mile run with the year’s fastest time at 3:57.62. Both MWC outstanding performers went to Lobos, too, as Jarrin Solomon was the men’s award winner and Katie Coronado was the women’s.Following the 2009 MWC championship the Lobo program sent 10 athletes to the NCAA regional championships, where 11 Lobo tracksters qualified for the NCAA championships. Of those 11, three Lobos earned All-American honors.
Franklin’s debut season on the track in 2008 was filled with highlights. Junior Sandy Fortner became the first UNM woman to compete in the pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships (where she 12th) after winning MWC gold in the competition. Five school records also fell during the indoor season. The 2008 outdoor track season saw seven athletes - four men and three women - advance to NCAA Championship meet, giving New Mexico its best representation up to that point in the modern era of the championships. Three athletes - seniors Robert Caldwell (pole vault) and Jeremy Johnson (10,000m), and junior Katie Coronado (javelin) - earned All-America honors, the most for UNM since 1989. Coronado’s silver medal in the javelin was the best ever recorded by a New Mexico woman at the NCAA Championships. Caldwell and Coronado gave UNM a sweep of the men’s and women’s MWC Outstanding Performer awards.
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 sent a team to the NCAA Championships five of the last six years Franklin was at the helm 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 nine times, won 128 conference titles and earned 276 all-conference awards. On the track, Butler had three outdoor All-Americans with 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. Scott Overall became Butler's first indoor track All-American in 2007 when he finished sixth in the mile run. 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.
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 17-year-old son, Elijah.
THE JOE FRANKLIN FILE
Age: 46 (born March 1, 1968)
Birthplace: Greencastle, Ind.
Alma Mater: Purdue ‘91
Collegiate Athletic Experience: Purdue (mid-distance: 1986-91)
2007-current: University of New Mexico
1994-07: Butler University
1992-94: Purdue University
1991-92: DePauw University
ALL-AMERICANS COACHED (24)