South Jersey native Jamie Franks is known in these parts for his exploits on the soccer field in the early 2000s - he was the 2004 New Jersey High School Player of the Year and went on to play at Wake Forest - but he’s already on his way to surpassing those accomplishments on the sidelines.
Two seasons in as head coach at the University of Denver, the 30-year-old Franks is yet to lose a regular season game.
The Pioneers accomplished the incredible feat of back-to-back unbeaten seasons with a 2-1 win in overtime over Portland on Thursday evening. That’s a regular season record of 28-0-6 in two seasons for those keeping track at home.
“Our players’ commitment level over the last two years has been incredible,” Franks was quoted saying after the game. “I don’t think they’ve received the notoriety they deserve for this run we’ve been on. Tell me the last team that’s gone undefeated back-to-back regular seasons.”
Saint Louis accomplished the feat twice in the 1960s, but not even historic powers like Indiana and Virginia with 15 national titles between them can claim the accomplishment. And while Denver plays in The Summit Conference, they haven’t shied away from playing bigger programs. The Pioneers held Creighton to a scoreless draw and beat Butler, New Mexico, Northwestern and Rutgers this season.
Franks started his coaching career as an assistant at Denver in 2012 after spending a couple seasons in the USL with Wilmington Hammerheads, Charleston Battery and Rochester Rhinos. He grew up in Medford, N.J. and starred at Shawnee High School before going to Wake Forest. He had seven goals and 20 assists in 95 career appearances with the Demon Deacons.
He was promoted to head coach at Denver after Bobby Muuss left to take the head job at Wake Forest.