Atlanta Falcons HS Coach of the Week: McEachern’s Franklin Stephens

The Atlanta Falcons Coach of the Week program recognizes high school football coaches across the state of Georgia for their hard work and dedication to making a difference in the lives of student-athletes both on and off the field. This season’s seventh winner is McEachern head coach Franklin Stephens, who has led his No. 2 ranked Indians to a 6-0 overall start this season with a 1-0 start in Region 3-AAAAAAA.
Stephens has been a head coach in Georgia since 2007, making stops at three different programs before taking over the McEachern program this offseason. A Burke County alum and two-time All-America selection at Georgia Southern as a player, Stephens’ coaching career got off to a historic start as he became the fastest head coach in Georgia High School history to reach 100 wins. He has led three different programs to multiple region titles prior to coming to McEachern and this year’s Indians team is one of just three Class AAAAAAA programs (Lowndes, Camden County) with an undefeated record heading into Week 9.
Being able to meet the weekly challenge each Friday night is a top to bottom effort for both the players and the coaching staff and Stephens sees winning Falcons Coach of the Week as an accomplishment his entire staff is a part of.
“When it comes to facilitating and going in the right direction, the coaching staff are the guys that really get it done,” explained Stephens. “So for me it is more of a staff deal than an individual award.”
McEachern’s consistency and success on the field this season reflect the high standard that Stephens and his staff continue to set for the program.
“The players just have to focus on meeting a certain standard and that standard doesn’t change,” said Stephens. “The thing that I get impressed about with some of our kids is just the things that they can accomplish when they can really focus—I use the term ‘locked in’. When they are locked in, then we can become as good as we want to be at that point. It’s about consistency and trying to get them to focus on that. A high school kid is going to have a lot of distractions going on, whether it is at home, academically, the recruiting process and all that stuff. So it comes down to reinforcing that the McEachern program is going to do everything it can to make them the best that they can be. In order for a coaching staff or a football program to be successful, the kids are going to have to be successful in what they do on and off the field. You want your kids to be successful in everything they do and it is about getting them to understand that you have their best interest at stake.”
The Indians are currently carrying a 27.5 point average margin of victory—the second most in program history. The schedule is not getting any easier, however, and after defeating No. 6 ranked Hillgrove 19-14 last Friday, McEachern is set to take on No. 5 Marietta on the road this Friday night. Despite the challenges the Blue Devils and other opponents down the road will present, Stephens is confident in his team’s ability to continue making strides.
“The senior class is starting to come into its own,” said Stephens. “Any time you are entering your senior year and you have a huge disruption, which is something like a coaching change, there is nothing quite like it because there is a bunch of uncertainty that begins. So it is kind of just getting comfortable with that and then really trying to teach them how to be leaders and the new expectations and constantly reinforcing those expectations. If a kid is going to learn how to be a leader, one thing he is going to have to do is challenge his friends. And that is hard on a lot of these kids, so it is just constant reinforcement to get them to believe in what they are doing.”
If you know a varsity head football coach dedicated to making a different on and off the field, CLICK HERE to nominate them for the Atlanta Falcons Coach of the Week Award.


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