Paul Francis: Where is MVP’s Head Coach Now?

The Netflix documentary series, ‘Sprint: The World’s Fastest Humans,’ revolved around some of the world’s fastest athletes as they competed for the 2023 World Championship 100m and 200m titles. The main rivalry, especially in the women’s events, was between Jamaica and the US, with both athletes and coaches locking horns. Paul Francis, Shericka Jackson’s coach, seemed unfazed by his counterpart’s mind games and continued watching over his pupils’ training. With many of the track and field veterans holding Paul and his brother, Stephen Francis, in very high regard, some may find themselves seeking to learn more about the taciturn head coach.

Paul Francis Co-Founded MVP with Stephen Francis

Paul Francis attempted to follow in the footsteps of his elder brother in the 1980s and pursue a degree at the University of the West Indies but dropped out within a year. The Francis brothers garnered an interest in coaching over the following decade and started MVP (Maximising Velocity and Power) in September 1999. As the club gained popularity with the success of athletes like Asafa Powell, Paul was overshadowed by his brother, Stephen, who was the head coach and received the majority of recognition.

However, he did not mind the dynamic and said that his brother deserved it all and more. “I have zero reservation about the kudos and recognition Stephen gets,” he explained in an interview with The Gleaner. “I am his biggest admirer. He is bright. He is working at his passion and he uses all his available resources to ensure that he keeps improving at what he does. I feel a bit ashamed sometimes when people big me up because I think that he deserves most or all of the praise.” Paul was selected to do a degree in Business at the University of Technology (UTech) in Kingston, Jamaica, in 2005 but decided not to pursue it, a decision that would change five years later.

A Terrible Accident and New Strides

On February 2, 2010, Paul met with a minor accident on a highway in Jamaica. When he got out of his vehicle to inspect the damage, he was hit by a passing car, which shattered his right leg. The accident compounded an earlier sporting injury in his right foot, and the doctors had to amputate half of his right leg as an infection developed. The coach was initially devastated at the loss, and felt that he would be a lesser trainer because of his injury. He began using a prosthetic leg, picked himself up, and decided to pursue a degree in Sport Management at UTech.

“Each day, I got a little stronger in terms of how to manage my own body,” he revealed in the aforementioned interview. “I had years of coaching experience and every sporting event doesn’t need only players, but it also needs strategists who are going to guide or coach the team. So oftentimes I played that role but at no point did I refuse myself from any practical activity because of my disability. I took part in every one of them.” The MVP cofounder took an optimistic approach to his work and became the club’s head coach in 2017 when Stephen Francis stepped down.

Fostering the Future of Jamaican Athletics

Following MVP’s exceptional results in the Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships, the coach became involved in Grassroots Athletics Training Camps in November 2023. Heading to Jamaica with his team of coaches, Francis highlighted how the same training camp held in 2016 had helped Antonio Watson win gold in the 400m at Budapest. It took in athletes from over 100 schools across the island on an invite-only basis and trained them for full days for its duration. Different advanced-level training camps were carried out over various locations in November 2023, and Francis himself oversaw their operations to foster athletes for Jamaica’s future.

Paul Francis is Optimistic About Jamaica’s 2024 Olympics Season

The head coach has high hopes for his athletes in 2024, with the World Indoor Championships having taken place and the Paris Olympics just around the corner. He recognized that other training institutions besides MVP had made great strides in the country and held great ambitions, contributing to Jamaica’s Olympic roster. When it came to his pupils, he expressed satisfaction with the performances of Shericka Jackson, Rohan Watson, Tia Clayton, and Tina Clayton in the 200m and 60m events.

“For us, all seasons are important per usual, and we systematically work to get each person the best they can be,” he told The Gleaner. “Wherever our athletes are selected to go, they will compete at the best of their abilities, and, at the end of the day, the focus is the same. We have seen more positives than negatives, and we are thankful.” As of writing, Paul Francis continues to work alongside his brother as he takes on the head coach’s duties in MVP while also serving as a part-time coach at UTech.

Read More: Stephen Francis: Where is the Legendary Jamaican Coach Now?