Russ returns to alma mater and hopes to guide Franklin Lions to new heights

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -- Two years ago when the Franklin Lions were looking for a new boys' head basketball coach they didn't have to do much of a background check on Jake Russ and the Lions are hoping he's able to guide this team to new heights.

The Franklin Lions boys basketball team has plenty of enthusiasm this season as year two of the Jake Russ era rolls on.

Jake was a multi sport athlete at Franklin. Playing quarterback for the Lions football team. He claimed a couple of state championships in mixed doubles tennis and was on the most successful boys' basketball team back in 2009 that advanced to the regional tournament.

"I knew I wanted to be a head basketball coach since the 7th grade and they haven't made the regional tournament since so when I noticed that I really. really wanted the job because I want to get em back there. I want to be the one and only that's played and coached the same team to the regional tournament and that's kinda what's fueling me," said Russ.

The Franklin ties don't stop with the head coach. His assistants are all Franklin High School graduates too. His 1st assistant Zach Lierman graduated in 2007. Daniel Brewer in 2012 and Wendy Tucker in 1994.

"Two of us have played on this court. Three of us on the other high school court. All played basketball. All played multiple sports. And we're Franklin people. We love it here," added Russ.

Russ and his staff are all on the same page when it comes to hard work and team chemistry are the backbone to success not just on the court, but in everything you do.

"I believe team chemistry goes a long way and me and my coaching staff preach hard work. We will be the hardest working team that steps on the court no matter who we are playing and then everything else will take care of itself," continued Russ.

Russ and his Lions have already played some state ranked teams this year and come up short, but they have gotten a glimpse of what they need to work on to earn a playoff spot this season and maybe fulfill their coach's goal of returning to the regional tournament as a coach after playing in it 11 years ago.

"A lot of work to be done, but I absolutely believe in them. I told em we lost to the number 2 ranked team Grapeland and we lost to the number six rank team Coldspring. Six or seven by double digits, but I told em I don't want any other team in the state. I love those guys. They pour their heart and soul out for me and if we keep working there is no doubt in my mind we can get there," wrapped i[ Russ.

The Franklin Lions will host Cameron Yoe Tuesday night at Loins Gym in Franklin. Tip off is set for 7pm.