Houston Franks returned to Mississippi State in 2004 as an assistant track and ﬁeld coach. An accomplished distance runner for the Maroon and White from 1994-98, Franks coaches and develops men's distance runners and served his ﬁrst season as head cross country coach in 2009. Franks has been a fundamental part to the recent success of the MSU cross country and distance track and field programs.
MSU Cross Country Head Coach
The women’s team finished sixth at the NCAA South Regionals in 2014. Franks coached Price and three other runners to be named to the All-Region teams. Franks had 11 cross country athletes break personal-bests during the 2014 campaign.
In 2012, Franks guided the men's cross country team to a Top 5 finish at the NCAA South Regional. The Bulldogs spot in fifth not only tied their best regional finish in history, but also placed them ahead of SEC foes Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Franks helped the women’s cross country earn ﬁfth-place ﬁnishes at both the 2010 SEC Championships and the NCAA South Regional, while leading the Bulldogs to seventh and 10th place ﬁnishes in the respected events. The ﬁfth-place ﬁnish for the Lady Bulldogs at the SEC Championships tied MSU's best ﬁnish to date which occurred in 2006.
Also in 2010, Franks coached sophomores Renee Masterson and Greenwell on their way to earning all-SEC and all-Region accolades; along with senior Adam Lenz as he earned all-SEC honors.
MSU Track & Field Assistant Coach
Other distance runners Frank’s coached to the 2015 NCAA Championships include Marta Freitas and Cornelia Griesche. Freitas competed in the 1500m run finals alongside Price and earned a 12th-place finish, while Griesche finished 16th overall in the 3000m steeplechase. Griesche set the school record in the steeplechase at the NCAA East Preliminaries to qualify for nationals with a time of 9:58.06.
Also making an appearance at the NCAA East Preliminaries was distance runner Damian Roszko. Roszko competed in the 10,000m run, which he holds the second-fastest time in school history (29:25.35). At the preliminaries, Roszko finished 41st with a time of 31:26.31.
Franks coached Price her freshman year in track and field in the 800-meter run and 1500-meter run, both of which she holds the schools second fastest times. Three other distance runners also made their way in to the record book to hold the Top 3 times in the 3000-meter steeplechase, including Cornelia Griesche (10:00.58), Lisa Ziegler (10:18.51) and Emma Neigel (10:19.70). Griesche went on to receive honorable mention All-American accolades in the event.
On the men’s side of the 2014 outdoor campaign, Franks coached Damian Roszko, who worked his way into the record books in the 5000-meter run with a time of 14:13.53 for the fourth fastest time.
Previously in the 2013 season, Franks had coached John Valentine to earn second in MSU school record books in the 5000-meter run with a time of 14:24.82.
Also working their way into the record books during the 2014 season, Roszko finished with the third best time in the mile in MSU school history with 4:07.61, while teammate Patrick Monaghan earned the second best time at 4:07.18.
During the 2011 Indoor Track and Field season, Franks guided sophomore Haley Greenwell to a third-place spot on the MSU all-time list for the 5,000-meter run, but it was during the 2011 Outdoor Track and Field season that Franks really saw Greenwell shine. The Lady Bulldog raced her way to the top of the MSU all-time list for the 10,000-meter run, while posting a 3rd place finish at the SEC Championships and a 17th place finish at the NCAA Championships. Franks' coaching paid off at the end of the season, as Greenwell was named an honorable mention all-American.
NCAA Midwest Regional's during his last three years and his men's squads ﬁnished in the top half of the conference during all ﬁve seasons. During the track and ﬁeld season, the Bears captured three indoor and outdoor league championships on the women's side.
Franks was a three-time MVC Coach of the Year in women's cross country. During the 2002-03 season, he was also a part of the ﬁrst SMS squad since 1993-94 to win the league's coveted Triple Crown championships in cross country and both indoor and outdoor track and ﬁeld.