Franklin Central High School’s football field will be named in honor of legendary Flashes’ coach Charles (Chuck) N. Stephens during pre-game ceremonies Friday, Aug. 23. Stephens coached the Flashes to Indiana state championships in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1990. He was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and was among the inaugural inductees of the Franklin Central High School Wall of Fame, April 27. Stephens’ latest honored night begins at 6 p.m. when alumni, past players and fans can greet him for 30 minutes.
On the field ceremonies at 6:45 p.m. will officially name the Flashes’ football field in his honor. A facility nominating committee recommended naming of the field for Stephens to the Franklin Township school board that approved the honor. The Flashes will play county rival Decatur Central at 7 p.m. in the 2019 season opener. FCHS reached the state title game seven times under Stephens, falling short only in 1986, 1988 and 1989. He retired from teaching and coaching in 1998 with a 145-46 record at Franklin Central and 165-70-1 overall as a head coach.
His IHSAA football playoff record was a remarkable 35-6. He returned briefly to the gridiron as defensive coordinator for the Flashes in 2011. Under Stephens’ mentorship, the Flashes were semi state champions seven times, regional champions seven times, sectional champions eight times and Central Suburban Conference champions five times.
Since retiring, he continuously has served the Flashes Football Foundation that provides scholarships for senior players and supports all levels of Flashes football. He is a 1958 graduate of Raytown (Mo.) High School, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Missouri Valley College, a Masters in Physical Education from Indiana University, and a specialist degree in Physical Education from Central Missouri State University.
His coaching experience includes a four-year stint as an assistant coach at Southport High school before returning to his native Missouri to become head coach at Higginsville High School and later Oak Grove High School. He was an assistant coach at Central Missouri State University for four years before coming to FCHS in 1974.
Stephens has received a multitude of honors: Missouri Valley Athletic Hall of Fame, Raytown High School Alumni Hall of Fame inductee in 2008; two-time Indiana High School Coaches Association, five time Indianapolis Downtown Kiwanis, and six time Central Suburban Athletic Conference coach of the year; 1981 South All-Star coach; and 1992 Distinguished Hoosier Award presented by Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh. On Aug. 23, the Flashes coaching legend will receive the lasting honor of having the Flashes football field named in his honor.