Justin D. Franklin is the new football head coach at Carroll County. (Courier file photo)
Justin D. Franklin is the new football head coach at Carroll County. (Courier file photo)
Carroll County defensive coordinator Justin D. Franklin, a former Panther and head coach at Trimble County, has been named as the Panthers’ next head football coach.

Franklin, a 1999 graduate of Carroll County who has served as an assistant to Hunter Cantwell at the school over the past three seasons, was hired Tuesday after a coaching search that began with Cantwell’s resignation to take the head coaching position at Christian Academy of Louisville last month.

A search committee chose Franklin from a field of 16 applicants of which seven were interviewed before two finalists were brought back for a second interview.

Carroll Athletic Director Paul Stone said Franklin’s performance as the team’s defensive coordinator and familiarity with the program won out over a field of qualified candidates.

“He was the defensive coordinator the last two years and our defense has been very good with him in charge,” Stone said. “The other thing is continuity. He is going to keep a lot of the current things in place. Most of the current assistants are on board as well and he had a lot of support to take over from the community.”

Franklin played center and outside linebacker for the Panthers from 1996-99 for former coaches Clyde McConnaughhay and Doug Barry where he was North Central Kentucky Conference First Team and Carroll’s offensive lineman of the year for 1998.

From there he attended Massannutten Military Academy prep school in Woodstock, Virginia, where he graduated in the fall of 2001 before attending and playing football for Cumberland (Ky.) College in 2001-02 and the University of Louisville where played football in 2003-04 and studied advanced biomechanics. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in health and human performance with a masters in teaching at Louisville.

Franklin went on to coach at several programs in Kentucky with his first job at Carroll County Middle School as football defensive assistant.

He spent two years as an assistant at Louisville Moore and four years as an assistant at Louisville Manual before being hired as the head coach at Trimble County in 2012.

As coach at Trimble County, Franklin’s often shorthanded Raiders compiled a 4-30 record over four injury-hampered seasons. He resigned after the 2015-16 season — the Raiders’ second winless campaign in three years — and accepted a position as an assistant with Cantwell at Carroll County in 2017.

During Franklin’s tenure at Carroll, the Panthers have improved from a 4-7 team in 2016 and 2017 to 7-5 last season with a win in the opening round of the Class 2A KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl playoffs.

“I think he will be a great coach. He is a guy who leads by example. He is someone who will get the student/athletes out to play with his enthusiasm,” Stone said of Franklin. “I feel good about the direction our program is heading.”

Franklin and his wife, Krista, have two sons, and live in Carrollton.