Name: Alex Franke
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Occupation: “I am a salesman for Beck’s Hybrids, and I work with my dad and grandpa on our family’s grain and livestock farm.”
Family: Parents, Joseph and Sandra Franke; sisters, Emma Franke and Anne Franke
High school and graduating year: Trinity Lutheran High School, 2008
Sports in high school: Basketball, four years; cross-country, one year; golf, one year
Athletics accomplishments: In basketball, coach’s award in 2006 and most valuable player award in 2008
College: Purdue University
Sports in college: “I played intramural basketball for FarmHouse Fraternity. Our basketball team was very successful. We were in the top four every year I was there.”
Major: Agricultural economics
Who or what got you into sports?
“My parents got me started playing soccer and basketball at a very young age. Both of my grandfathers were very supportive of basketball as the years went on. There weren’t many away games or tournaments that my grandfathers wouldn’t be at from sixth grade on up. I think that’s what made basketball so important to me.”
What are your favorite memories of high school sports?
“I have many fond memories of high school basketball. I can distinctly remember my time playing for coach Doug Kamman. Coach Kamman in particular found ways to motivate me to play my absolute hardest the entire time I was on the court. I vividly remember him in the locker room the night of the first round of sectional my sophomore year saying, ‘I would give anything tonight to lace up my shoes one last time and play one more high school basketball game with you tonight. Leave it all out there tonight because once it’s over, it will be nothing but memories.’ I often think about how right he was in that pregame speech of his. I believe that sophomore year with him pushing me was a turning point for me in my high school career.”
What was your biggest accomplishment or award and why?
“In my mind, my biggest accomplishment was being one of the team captains my junior and senior year. There was no other feeling than leading the team out of the locker room and being the guy the younger players looked to for direction and leadership.”
Are you still involved in sports today?
“I have coached middle school basketball for Immanuel Lutheran School for the past several years. I currently coach sixth-grade basketball there with two of my past high school teammates, Chad VanLiew and Tyler Pottschmidt. I’ve realized coaching is a huge commitment, but for me it has been very rewarding. My goal is to one day coach high school ball with Chad and Tyler on the coaching staff.”
How did sports affect your life?
“Sports taught me that being successful isn’t free or easy. Hard work and determination is the price. I don’t know if I would have picked that up anywhere else. I would say running those countless stair laps and doing those dreadful wall sits taught me a lot about life, especially when they started to pay off.”
Do you have any advice for kids about getting involved in sports?
“Pay attention to your coach. Chances are, they’ve been in the same situation you are in now. Be a ‘sponge’ — hear every word that is said by anyone that gives you advice and soak it all up. Most importantly, work your tail off and leave every last bit of energy out there on the court because when it’s over, it’s over.”
Do you have any hobbies?
“I still enjoy getting in the gym for pickup games whenever I can.”
Do you have any favorite sports teams?
“Purdue football and basketball. I’m a huge Colts fan.”
Do you have a favorite athlete?