When Franqua Bedell won a national championship as the head coach at Tallahassee Community College, he was flooded with a lot of questions about how he got a team on the verge of missing the post-season to winning a national title.
So, he decided to put it in a book: “From Chumps to Champs: The Journey of Building a Winning Program.”
On Friday, at Larry B’s Rhythm Room featuring Hazel’s Gourmet Chicken and Waffles, Bedell launched his book tour from the downtown Van Buren restaurant co-owned by his father in Van Buren.
“I got a lot from my father, who is a great jazz musician and businessman. He would bring in guys who were good musicians and by the time they were ready to go on their own, they were great musicians,” Bedell said. “That’s the mentality I have as a coach: treat it like a business and empower those players to achieve something great.”
Bedell (also known as “Coach Q”) is entering his sixth season as head coach of the women’s basketball team at Tallahassee and the third overall for the program in its 25-year history.
With three games remaining in the 2017-18 regular season, the Eagles weren’t even assured a post-season berth, but won the final three games and forced a one-game playoff to get runner-up in the Panhandle Conference and a ticket to the FCSAA State/NJCAA district tournament.
The Eagles fell in the semifinals, but it was enough to get an at-large bid to the NJCAA tournament as the No. 11 seed. Bedell and his crew played five games in five nights and defeated Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College for the national title.
Bedell was named coach of the tournament and the Spalding NJCAA Division I women’s basketball national coach of the year honors.
Bedell, a 1995 graduate from Southside High School, spent three weeks working on the book and already had another book set to be released, but decided the timeliness of winning the national title prompted an adjustment.
“I was getting a lot of questions about how we did it. So, I got up early every morning for three weeks to write it,” Bedell said. “My wife (Crystal Ness) helped me out a lot. She read over my pages and asked questions which made the book better. It really was a team effort.
“I tell the story: the ups and downs, the highs and lows. How we viewed the program as a business and that we were going to do what others would say, ‘the impossible’ of winning a national title.”
Bedell, who graduated from the University of the Ozarks, has much experience in student affairs on the college level and has been a motivational speaker for the past 20 years.
Bedell coached on the college level for 16 seasons with stops at Virginia Commonwealth, Mississippi State, Southern Illinois College (as a head coach for one season), Southeast Missouri State and Hardin-Simmons University. As a head coach, he has an overall NJCAA record of 132-61.
He was also an assistant at Northside High School for two seasons which saw the Grizzlies win the state title in 2002 and a No. 3 national ranking by USA Today.
“I hope to reach the NCAA Division I level at some point,” said Bedell. “I still plan to keep speaking.”
The book can be purchased at fromchumpstochamps.com