Bill Franey says he will remember the smiles the most.

Franey, who is retiring after six years as the head coach of the women’s basketball team, said he will take with him the memories of smiles of the women he coached.

“I have had the great fortune to work with so many young ladies whom I will never forget,” he wrote in an email. “The smiles they brought to practice and to the office made every day a great one.

“That is what I will remember, that is what I will miss.”

Franey, who announced his retirement in late March, compiled a record of 103-82 and led his team to the NAIA national tournament for the second time in program history, according to ramsports.net. Franey coached 15 All-Conference selections, four NAIA scholar-athletes, and the program’s only three-time NAIA all-American, Katelynn Threats.

Franey wrote that for now he plans to focus on his club team for their final season.

“Some of those kids have been with me since third grade,” Franey wrote. “Watching them play their final summer will be exciting; after that only time will tell.”

Franey wrote that there was not an exact reason for retiring right now.

“Just felt the time was right,” Franey wrote. “I hope my legacy is a good person who recruited quality student athletes and who treated them well.”

Franey joined the coaching staff in 2009, and brought 35 years of experience to the Lady Rams, according to ramsports.net. His coaching career included junior high, high school, NCAA DI and NCAA DII. He also coached men’s basketball, and has an 83 percent high school and college winning record.

Athletic Director Steve Trachier, a longtime friend of Franey, will take over as the women’s team’s head coach, according to ramsports.net.

“Coach Franey and I have been friends for a very long time,” Trachier wrote in an email. “We even coached together some years ago.  He has done a great job here changing the culture of the program and the team has been very competitive.  Though I am sad to see him leave, I know he will stay close to the game of basketball and the coaching profession.  It is in his DNA, and it is who he is.”

Trachier wrote the last time he coached in public schools was the early 1990s, but since then he has coached elite-level high school teams for more than a decade. 

 “The last time I coached in public schools we were still shooting at peach baskets,” Trachier wrote. “Almost all of those (high school) kids earned scholarships at the college level.  It was the best playing against the best, and I found it more enjoyable than coaching in public school ball.  I have continued to stay current in the game knowing that one day I would return to the thing I love the most, coaching basketball.”

Trachier wrote that he is excited to work with the returning players, including two all- conference selections, Ashlie Bruner and Bailey Broadnax.

“We have a productive core of high character kids coming back next year,” Trachier wrote. “They work hard, and I like that. We are in a very challenging conference but I really like our chances (of success).”

Broadnax, a junior forward, wrote in a text message that Franey will be missed on and off the court.

“There’s not just one thing that I will miss, but everything,” Broadnax wrote. “His personality always finds a way to make us laugh.  He’s a very open armed person, always a coach, and if you ever feel the need to vent he’ll always lend an ear.”

Broadnax wrote that her expectations for Trachier are higher than ever before.

“I have a different mindset as a senior,” Broadnax wrote. “I’ll do what I have to on the court and to push my team. I expect nothing less from him. We will both have time to get comfortable with each other, but after that, I expect business. He already showed us what it’s going to take to get to the top and with the dedication we give I expect to get there.”

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Kayla Prachyl

Kayla Prachyl is a junior mass communication major who plans to graduate in May of 2018. Kayla is also a member of the university’s softball team, and hopes to pursue a career in public relations or sports marketing that allows her to travel after graduation.

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