Brett Franz
Brett Franz
Title: Head Coach
Year: 1st
Degree: BS, Business Marketing, Western Oregon University '03
Degree: MA, Education - Athletic Administration, Lindenwood University '06
Office: Sparks 220

Coaching Philosophy

Athletically, I want to push our student-athletes to set goals bigger than what they thought was possible. Understanding that the change it takes to achieve these new goals will set them up to take on challenges in the day to day of life.

Academically, I want to push our student-athletes to explore learning and take on new challenges. I want to help them discover new ways to learn and figure out how to utilize their strengths to be successful.

At the end of a student-athlete's career at Willamette University, I want them to walk away knowing that they have a support system that they will have throughout their life. My greatest coaching moments come years later when our former student-athletes are successfully tackling careers, relationships, life with a passion and confidence that they learned here!

Brett Franz is the first head coach of the Willamette women's triathlon team, which will begin competing in the fall of 2021. Franz previously who served as the assistant head coach of cross country and track and field at Willamette. He is in his 15th year on the coaching staff.

"I'm thankful to Rob Passage and Willamette University for giving me the opportunity to start this program and I am looking forward to laying the foundation this year for a successful program in the years to come."

Franz indicated that he hopes to develop Willamette's triathlon team in cooperation within the NCAA and with other levels of the sport.

"I'm looking forward to bringing the program into the local triathlon community while becoming a part of the NCAA women's triathlon community as it grows from an emerging sport into a full-fledged NCAA championship sport."

"We are excited to have Brett leading the development of our new program," Director of Athletics Rob Passage said. "He has proven in his time here at Willamette to be an outstanding coach and educator. He not only understands what students need to be successful here at Willamette, he is well equipped to help them navigate the challenges that come up along the way. Our triathlon program is in great hands and I look forward to what the future holds."

The fall triathlon season includes three regional qualifiers and a national championship. In all races, athletes cover a 750-meter open-water swim, a draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and a 5-kilometer run. The addition of women's triathlon gives Willamette a total of 20 intercollegiate sports teams.

Brett Franz works with long jumper Hugh Donlan
Brett Franz works with long jumper Hugh Donlan

"I'm excited to start recruiting for the first triathlon team at Willamette," Franz said. "As the only women's NCAA Division III varsity triathlon program on the West Coast and the only program in the Pacific Northwest, I am excited about the student-athletes that we will be able to recruit to the program.

"Our triathlon program will be a great opportunity for student-athletes to get the top-level academic experience that Willamette is known for, as well as the opportunity to compete at the NCAA level in triathlon," Franz added. "We will look to help grow and empower the student-athletes in the classroom and help them become strong leaders at the university and in the community."

As a cross country coach, Franz helped the Bearcats win nine Northwest Conference men's team titles and six NWC women's team championships, along with three NCAA West Regional men's championships and four NCAA West Regional women's titles. Franz helped the Bearcat women's team place ninth at the NCAA Championships in 2007, 12th in 2013 and 15th in 2014 and 10th in 2015.

Brett Franz works with long jumper Hugh Donlan
Brett Franz talks with hurdler Jewell Sparks

Franz coached sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers, and multi-event athletes during the track and field season. He helped sprinters and jumpers win 28 NWC individual championships and six NWC relay titles on their way to 87 All-NWC performances. Franz has coached 10 athletes at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, including several All-America performances. During his time at Willamette, he has coached athletes to two school records, plus numerous individual and relay top 10 all-time marks. He helped the Bearcats win one NWC men's track and field team title and four NWC women's team championships.

Prior to joining the Willamette coaching staff, Franz was the head men's and women's cross country and distance coach at Lindenwood University (Mo.) and was the head assistant coach for the track and field teams. At Lindenwood, Franz worked with a squad that had 50 NAIA track and field All-Americans, including 11 NAIA national champions. The Lindenwood men won the NAIA Indoor National Track and Field Championship and a runner-up finish in outdoor track. In cross country, Franz led the Lindenwood men to a third place finish at the NAIA national meet and coached the NAIA individual national champion and runner-up.

He was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference and NAIA Region V Coach of the Year in cross country. He was chosen as the NAIA National Assistant Coach of the Year for indoor track.

Franz earned a bachelor's degree in Business Marketing from Western Oregon University in 2003. He received a master's degree in Athletic Administration at Lindenwood in 2006.



Date Event Race Location Place Time Swim T1 Cycle T2 Run