Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The family of Marvin A. “Skeeter” and Ann Francis has established a scholarship at Catawba College. Although Ann Francis and her late husband, Marvin, never attended Catawba, their son, Marvin A. Francis Jr. did, and is an alumnus from Catawba’s class of 1979.
In a nod to the late Marvin Francis’ longtime affiliation with the ACC, preference for this scholarship will be given to a member of the men’s basketball team.
Francis’ association with the ACC began as a sportswriter, and ultimately, assistant sports editor of the Durham Morning Herald covering the inaugural ACC Tournament in 1954.
A 1946 graduate of Wake Forest College and a seven-year veteran of the armed forces, Francis was the first director of the ACC Basketball Tournament, which established standards that have been adopted by other conferences as well as the NCAA. Francis, a Durham native, was employed for 15 years at Wake Forest as director of sports publicity, beginning in 1955. He left Wake Forest in 1969 to work as service bureau director and assistant commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference for 22 years until his retirement in 1990. He died in 2004 at age 82.
A past president of the College Sports Information Director of America (CoSIDA), the late Marvin Francis was an inductee of the USBWA Hall of Fame as well as the Helms Hall of Fame for Sports Information Directors. The Atlantic Coast Conference Sports Media Association began the annual Marvin “Skeeter” Francis award in 1990 to recognize individuals for distinguished service to the ACC. In 1995, he was inducted into the Wake Forest University Sports Hall of Fame.
Ann Francis survives her husband and lives in Winston-Salem. She was the head secretary for the Wake Forest University Department of Religion for 29 years, retiring in 1992. She was active in the Wake Forest Baptist Church and in the Winston-Salem community.
“This is a wonderful way for Marvin Francis Jr. and his wife, Elaine, to pay tribute to Marvin’s parents,” explained Catawba Senior Vice President Tom Childress. “Skeeter Francis is a legend in the ACC and through his own fine example he helped elevate the roles of sports information directors at colleges and universities across the country. His wife, Ann, was always supportive of his professional pursuits. Between the two of them, they have set wonderful examples to their son and to the larger community of how to live a full and rich life.”
“As the manager for Sam Moir’s Basketball teams during my years at Catawba as well as my longtime friendship with current basketball coach Jim Baker, Catawba basketball has a special place in my heart. My parents were a great influence on my life and through their support, my decision to attend Catawba was a life-changing experience,” said Marvin A. Francis Jr.
He is employed as athletic director and a physical education teacher at Meadowlark Middle School in Winston-Salem. His wife, Elaine, also works at Meadowlark Middle as a learning disabilities teacher and the EC case manager.