Remembering Some Of The Greatest Athletes In MHS History (Fran Worthen)

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Fran Worthen

While at Marshfield, Worthen was one of the top track and field athletes in the country and a multiple time state champion. Worthen also participated in cross country, field hockey and volleyball. She was also a member of the Girls Athletic Association. During her high school career, she broke the national high school long jump record twice. Worthen went on to win ten state titles and is the only person in class 4A to score more than 100 career points in a state meet. After Worthen graduated, she participated in track and field at Southwestern Oregon Community College and became the first woman to participate for a men’s junior college track team. Worthen also broke the American record for the 220-yard race three times. In 1974, she was the AAU National Senior Women’s Champion at 220 yards and part of a 440-yard relay team that set an American record. Worthen retired in 1975 and returned to Coos Bay to coach the track and field team at Marshfield. Worthen coached the girls team to a state title in 2005 and the boys to another state title in 2008. She then retired from coaching. Worthen said Coos Bay was a supportive place to grow up and helped lead her to success. “I felt that I had a great education and had a lot community support . . . I was just inspired really to reach the highest level of achievement that I could and I was a girl, so that was pretty rare back in those days,” Worthen said. Even from a young age she said she felt like she was in a good spot to grow up. According to Worthen, she grew up in the Ocean Boulevard neighborhood with many good moms and kids. As she grew older, she found more and more positive things throughout Coos Bay’s community. According to Worthen, one of those things was that she had a strong, supportive team that helped her accomplish her athletic goals. Worthen said her best advice to athletes would be to share key concepts to success she learned as a young athlete. “I would say three important things to current athletes is to work hard to get a good education, invest yourself in your education and then probably the next important thing would be become the person you really want to be,” Worthen said. “It’s character.”