Not many coaches in the history of Ohio High School basketball can top or equal three major milestones in Coach Guilbault’s career. First, he spent 38 years as head coach at the same school. Every year of the last 35 under his leadership, his teams had a winning record, which may be a national record. Second, his team was the only team in the state to go undefeated in 1978-79. And last, all of those winning 35 seasons were above .600, except one. His teams scored 59,375 points to their opponent’s 48,930. They had a victory margin of 12.4 points per game in a very competitive high school basketball area.
Fran’s philosophy concerning basketball was to work hard during the week to prepare for games – then turn them loose on game night and let them have fun. Coach Guilbault was a forty year member of the OHSBCA and helped found the District 8 Coaches Association. In addition he was a charter member of the NFCA and numerous educational organizations.
He was born and raised in Ontonagon, Michigan on the Upper Peninsula. After high school graduation, he entered the U.S. Marine Corps serving on the U.S.S. Hornet in the Far East. Graduating in 1960 from Western Michigan with a B.S. Degree, he attended Ohio University on an assistantship and earned his Masters in Education in 1961.
Among honors his teams achieved: Ranked 1st in State Poll twice; ranked in Top Ten – twelve times; 20 or more wins – 11 times; 15 or more wins – 25 times; undefeated regular season in 1978-79. The coaching honors he received include: League Coach of the Year 11 times; District 8 Coach of the Year six times; AP Coach of the Year, 1980; UPI Coach of the Year, 1991; NFCA Coach of the Year, 1992 and 1993; Paul Walker Award, 1991; Bob Arnzen Award; Coach District 8 All-Star Game, 1979; and he coached Ohio North-South All-Star Game, 1979.
Fran and wife, Mary Lou, have been married 42 years and have seven children; Craig, Michelle, Karen, Stevie, Julie, and Gary. They have 23 grandchildren.