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Longtime John Marshall coach Franklin Threatts passes at age 78

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Posted at 11:11 PM, Jan 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-16 09:38:39-05

RICHMOND, Va. --Longtime John Marshall High School boys basketball coach Franklin Threatts Jr. passed away on Thursday after battling illness for some time. He was 78.

Mr. Threatts began his coaching career with the Justices back in 1970, when the school was part of the Marshall-Walker complex. In his years with those teams, Threatts won two state titles. He had two different terms with the Justices, finally retiring in 2010. He also was an assistant at Virginia State for three years.

"One of his former players told me today, he quit when [my father] was coaching at a military academy in Powhatan," Threatts's son, Franklin Threatts III, said. "He said my father showed up at his door. [My father] said 'I'm not going to try to make you come back. I just want to make sure you're OK'.

"He hugged him, said he loved him and wanted to make sure he was OK. Some of those stories I'm going to hear over the next week, let me know and solidify that my father was more than just Coach. "

Threatts won over 600 games in his career, and very nearly had a third state title back in 1997.

His team that year, with LaMar Taylor at point guard, lost in overtime to Hampton with Ronald Curry. Mr. Threatts' son, who was an assistant for him for many years, joked that after that game at Liberty University's Vines Center, he cannot go back to Lynchburg anymore.

Mr. Threatts' was also remembered as a teacher of not only players, but other coaches.

Former players have gone on to become coaches themselves, including Jason Williford, who is now an assistant under Tony Bennett for the second-ranked Virginia Cavaliers.

"All the things that Coach did on the court, people noticed how he did it," Threatts' son said. "[Highland Springs] Coach Lancaster talked to me this morning and he said 'You just don't know how much of a teacher he was to me.' And I'm thinking Coach Lan is one of the greatest coaches, saying that about my father, it just lets me know that Coach had an impact on the court in people's lives that we didn't even know."

Mr. Threatts suffered a series of small strokes in recent years. Funeral arrangements are not complete, but are expected to take place at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Glen Allen