Jim France’s bio
Birthday: Sept. 18, 1943, at Akron City Hospital.
Family: France was born to parents Jeanne and Paul France. He is married to Nancy, and they have three children: Jeff, Jason and Jennifer, and six grandchildren. Jim and Nancy are set to celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary on Sept. 5.
Education background: 1961 Springfield High School graduate; earned bachelor’s degree in 1969 and master’s degree in 1974 from the University of Akron.
Athletic background: Competed in football, basketball and baseball at Springfield and played football and baseball at UA.
Coaching background: Started as a Springfield assistant coach in football and basketball for two seasons. Then coached at Coventry as a football assistant for one season and led the Comets as coach for one season in 1970. Became Manchester’s football coach in 1971 and held the role until 1984, when he became the high school’s principal. After one season away, France returned to the sidelines as the Panthers’ coach in 1986 and has held the position since.
Head coaching record: France enters his 42nd season with a 341-87-3 overall record. He is in his 41st season at Manchester.
Other notes: France served in the Marines for four years. ... Manchester has made the state playoffs 19 times since the tournament started in 1972 and has won 20 league championships. The Panthers’ first playoff win and appearance came in 1989 against Wellington. ... The 1997 Manchester team reached the Division IV state championship game and lost 31-24 to Germantown Valley View in five overtimes. ... France has never had a losing season as Manchester’s coach. He has had 38 winning seasons and two 5-5 seasons.
France on working with his players: “The best part of the job is seeing the kids grow. We have had guys go on to be judges, lawyers, doctors and hold other jobs in various occupations. The most important thing is to be a productive citizen.”
— Michael Beaven