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East County Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2009 8 years ago

Mustangs coach celebrates milestones

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Dave Frantz had endless choices when it came to deciding how to spend his upcoming 50th birthday.

He could have done something extreme such as skydiving, hang gliding or rock climbing. He could have traveled across the world, gone on an African safari or cruised the Mediterranean. Or he could’ve simply gone out to dinner with his family.

But none of those choices really captivated the Lakewood Ranch High boys golf coach’s interest. Frantz kept pondering how to celebrate his birthday until the perfect idea finally sank in: Why not take the money he would have otherwise used and do something with it to help someone else?

“I thought, ‘I’m not going to skydive, and I don’t have the money to travel across the world,’” Frantz said. “I thought, ‘What else can I do?’ Finally, I decided to put the money toward a charity event.”

Frantz, who will turn 50 Oct. 9, will host the Coach Frantz is Fifty! Charity Golf Tourney in celebration of his 50th birthday and his 25th season coaching. The event will tee off at 1 p.m., Oct. 3-4 at The River Club, 6600 River Club Blvd. Registration for the tournament, which begins at 11 a.m., is $130 per player and includes two days of golf, cart, range balls, prizes, drink tickets both days and dinner on Oct. 3.

The Coach Frantz is Fifty! Charity Golf Tourney will be divided into two parts: a Ryder Cup event between the Lakewood Ranch High golf alumni and the Southeast High golf alumni and a standard two-man event, open to anyone in the community who wishes to participate.

The alumni Ryder Cup event will pit Frantz’s former players against one another in two-man teams. Four of Frantz’s former players will serve as co-captains for each team. In all, 99 players — 51 from Southeast and 48 from Lakewood — have played and graduated since Frantz began coaching in 1985.

“It ends up being the 20-somethings versus the 30-somethings,” Frantz said. “The 20-somethings are talking a lot of smack.”

Those participating in the general two-man event will play several different formats within the 36 holes of golf, including best ball, scramble and a modified alternate shot. The tournament will also feature several different divisions, including women two-person and married divisions, among others.

Prizes will be awarded to each of the flight winners, and the alumni will be playing for pride and a surprise gift, which will be awarded to the winning team. Several door prizes also will be awarded throughout the tournament.

The majority of the proceeds from the event will benefit breast cancer research, education and treatment in honor of his mother, Helen, who lost her 10-year battle with breast cancer in 1988.

“Everyone knows someone dealing with this,” Frantz said. “It can be your mother, wife, or sister — people we hold very dear to us. It’s in her memory and memoriam, so the bulk of the money is going towards helping with that.”

A designated portion will also benefit the Lakewood Athletic Booster Club. Frantz said ideally he would like to have 15 regular two-man teams and 24 alumni teams participate in the event with the goal of raising $5,000 for the cause.

“I’m just hoping that the community and the boosters come through,” Frantz said. “My goal is just for everyone to have fun and raise some money for breast cancer research and the booster club.”

After playing for his high school golf team, Frantz just missed making the golf team at Marshall University. He decided to play intramural golf instead and was a five-time intramural champion.

Upon graduation, Frantz moved to Florida with his older brother and began teaching at Southeast. After convincing the principal to let him coach, Frantz took over the program in 1985.

“I’ve always been a student of the game, and it just seemed like a natural fit,” Frantz said. “Most of the guys already knew me before I became their coach because I was so young back then.”

Frantz went on to coach the Seminoles to an undefeated regular season and state runner-up finish in 1990. Frantz became so close with his players that season that he decided to rent a limousine for him and his players to take from the high school to the state tournament in Sarasota.

“It was pretty neat,” Frantz said. “We went through the drive thru at McDonald’s, and we had our theme song, which was “She Drives Me Crazy,” playing in the background.

“It’s nostalgic,” he added. “In 1990, I was a big kid. I was only 30 at the time, and these kids were all 18. We used to live, eat and breathe golf. I’m still really close with all of those guys.”

Frantz moved to Lakewood 10 years ago when the school opened and started its golf program. Since then, he has coached the Mustangs to four district titles in the past five years and a regional championship, finishing as the regional runner-up three times and advancing to the state tournament four times.

“I don’t really feel any different,” Frantz said. “I find every day that I achieve more and more. It’s fun and I really enjoy what I do.”

Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].

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