Kerry Prather Announces Retirement from Coaching at Franklin College

After 44 years in the coaching profession, including the last 38 on the Franklin bench and the last 37 as the program’s head coach, Kerry Prather has retired from coaching. Prather was appointed as the President of Franklin College on February 22, 2020.

The program’s all-time leader in wins, Prather closes his career with a 528-456 record. Under his eye, the Grizzlies have claimed six conference regular season championships, four HCAC tournament championships and have appeared in the post-season on six different occasions.

“Looking back on all this, it’s not just teams and seasons that come to mind as much as it is individual players, assistant coaches and just the incredible number of great kids that we have had come through here,” Prather noted. “Championships and record-breaking seasons were special, but even years with fewer wins were great experiences for all of us and great learning opportunities.”

“It sounds like a cliché to say that all the players are the real trophies, but it’s true.  It has been an honor to have been part of their lives and shared some great times.  The same is true for all the young assistant coaches.  I hope I have helped them all grow and become better people.  They have certainly done the same for me.”

“Going to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 are amazing experiences and those were amazing teams,” Prather continued. At the same time, some seasons when we struggled early and then figured it out were just as rewarding.”

The Grizzlies’ deepest post-season run came in 1992, when they entered the NAIA National Tournament as the No. 3-seed overall and were one of the final eight teams battling for a national championship.

On three occasions, Prather was named the ICAC and later HCAC Coach of the Year. Seven Grizzlies were named conference Player of the Year honors under his tutelage, with two of those players, Jason Sibley and John Holden, going on to earn All-America honors.

In a profession where turnover is constant, Prather has relished the chance to call Franklin home and build a program for nearly four decades. Coming off an HCAC championship in 2019-20, the next coach of the Grizzlies will be primed to continue that success into the future.

“We have been blessed to stay in one place for so long because that is something that doesn’t happen in coaching much anymore,” Prather continued. “Franklin is a great school in a wonderful community. I’m very proud of having always done things the right way so the college and the community were proud of our teams.”

“I am especially grateful that our family has been able to travel this journey together.  Thanks to Cindy, she and the kids (Katie and Robbie) have been at the very center of this every step of the way. That includes the four years I had the privilege of coaching Robbie, which was an incredibly special experience.”

“To retire on the heels of a conference championship, the program is in great shape and we have a good group of players coming back next year. The program will continue to be successful going forward.”

An announcement regarding the next head coach of the men’s basketball program will be made at a later date.

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