Time go down memory lane once again as we reach 34 days to kickoff…
Navarre fielded their first Varsity Football team during the 1998 season (with their first junior class). They went 4-5 under Coach Kenny Hughes that season. Coach Danny Williams would then take over the program from there and would then be followed by Coaches Larry Olson, Chad Lashley and Jay Walls.
The Navarre community now had a team to call their own. These fans cheered on this young program and endured the late summer heat, metal bleachers at home and the many early setbacks…but this would not stop them.
Those of us that have lived in Navarre for quite a while, may remember a running back from that season and for the next three seasons to come…Frank Willis (#34).
Frank rushed for almost 1,000 yards in his freshman year. One of his best memories from that season, was beating Catholic, 41-40 in 5 overtimes.
See, football was not his only his only interest while at Navarre. His senior year, Navarre started up their NJROTC Program and Frank made a decision to be a part of it. A decision that helped pave the way for his future.
After graduation, he was accepted to the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he played football for one year, then a year of boxing. He would then transfer to Savannah State, where he played on the golf team for two years and was a part of the NROTC program.
Frank graduated from Savannah State in 2007 with a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Mathematics and a minor in Naval Science.
He was then commissioned in the U.S. Navy as an Ensign. After completing flight training, he would go on to fly the EA-6B Prowler and the EA-18G Growler. Frank is currently a Lieutenant Commander and went on to serve as an Aviation Department Head in Electronic Attack Squadron 133 at NAS Whidbey Island in Washington.
I hope that you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane…Frank helped lay the foundation of a young program that is now entering it’s 25th season of Varsity action in 2022.
Class of 2002, RB Frank Willis, #34.