The Distinguished Alumni Series is part of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference's 25th anniversary, where the conference will be recognizing former AMCC student-athletes who have excelled in their area of study. The Distinguished Alumni Series will run every Thursday throughout the academic year.
Tyler Franklin produced a stellar career on the hardwood for Penn State Altoona men’s basketball program. From 2003-07, he put together one of the best collegiate careers of any athlete to compete at Penn State Altoona in its NCAA Division III era.
Franklin’s total of 1,533 points scored during his four-year career still places him as the Lions’ all-time leading scorer, and he also remains the program’s all-time leader in field goals made with 590. He was a three-time All-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference selection, taking first team honors in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons and second team recognition in the 2004-05 campaign.
Today, Franklin is a Logistics Coordinator for R&R Express in Pittsburgh, a company which provides transportation and logistics services to a variety of industries. In his current position, Franklin works with people across the country to help with their shipping needs, setting up trucks to pick up products and deliver them to their destinations. He credits his Penn State education with helping him along his current career path.
“I have been working in sales since I graduated. I’m still relatively new to this position, but all of my sales experience since graduating has really helped me in this role,” Franklin said. “My major at Penn State Altoona was communications, and I received a minor in history. I can say that the bachelor’s degree from Penn State has helped me get my foot in the door when qualifying for different positions.”
This fall, Franklin will be a member of the inaugural class of the Penn State Altoona Athletics Hall of Fame. The recognition has given him the opportunity to reflect on his collegiate career, and it has brought back plenty of memories.
One of Franklin’s favorite memories occurred on December 14, 2006. That night, in a packed Adler Gymnasium, Penn State Altoona took on No. 18 ranked Lincoln University, a Division II team that was making headlines across the country for its scoring prowess. The Lions pulled off a wild 95-86 upset win, and Franklin contributed a game-high 29 points in the victory.
“Lincoln had been on ESPN for scoring 201 points in a game. I had people telling me that they were going to kill us,” Franklin remembered. “I told the team if anyone doesn’t think we can win, then don’t show up. We got the win that night.”
Franklin also appreciates the opportunity afforded to him by former Penn State Altoona head coach Armon Gilliam, who coached the program from 2002-05. Gilliam, a 13-year NBA veteran, recruited Franklin to play at Penn State Altoona and was a big influence in developing his game.
“The other memory that sticks out is playing for Armon Gilliam. He’s the only one who gave me a chance, and his NBA background took my game to the next level,” said Franklin. “I became a Hall of Fame player and the all-time leading scorer because of his foundation.”
Franklin strongly believes that his experience as an NCAA Division III student-athlete in the AMCC at Penn State Altoona shaped his life in a positive way, setting him up for success in life after graduation.
“The student-athlete life is challenging. Everything that I learned in sports has translated to real life. Working as a team, playing through adversity, getting better every day, and all the things that apply to being an athlete are things I’ve used to be successful in all areas of my life,” he said. “I am very thankful for the athlete side of things, but my education molded me, as well. The experiences I had in African American history, including classes and trips to Antietam and Gettysburg, really made me appreciate my heritage. My dream was to play Division I ball, but looking back, I’m happy that God moved me in the direction of Penn State Altoona. Playing Division III ball, you play for love of the game. It’s different and it makes you grow.”