Evan Franz, a teenager from Brunswick who joined his beloved Siena Saints men’s basketball program last season as an honorary team member, died Monday following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Franz, 18, was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme in May 2019. In November 2021, Franz joined the Saints and was a consistent presence around the team, both at practices and games. Upon joining the Saints, Franz had made his intentions clear, noting that he “gets loud very quickly, and I’m ready to see those Siena Saints go kick some you-know-what.”
In quick fashion, Franz became a favorite teammate with the Saints, who often led the team’s huddle cheer of “1-2-3 Family!”
“Our hearts are broken to lose a member of our family,” Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello said Tuesday in a statement released through the school’s athletic department. “Evan exemplified all we strive to be. Even as his battle with cancer forged on, he still lived with enthusiasm, appreciation, and toughness each and every day. Not a day goes by where we don’t think about the joy he brought us all, and he will be dearly missed. We love you, Evan.”
Franz died one day after Siena played Sunday just hours after finding out that forward Michael Baer’s dad John Baer, 61, had died following his battle with cancer. A moment of silence was held before Sunday’s game in honor of John Baer, a contest that saw Michael Baer play and record a game-high 10 rebounds.
Earlier this month, John Baer had been able to make the trip from Iowa to Albany to watch Siena against Saint Peter’s. Siena won that night, the last time John Baer was able to watch his son play in person.
Franz was a senior at Tamarac High School. He had earned his acceptance into the Siena class of 2027, and that accomplishment was recognized during a Nov. 19 ceremony at the school’s UHY Center.
Last September, Franz shared the Mary Ann Raymond Donnelly Fighting Spirit Award with Tamarac classmate Joe Carista at the 17th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Basket “Ball” held at the Albany Capital Cancer.