After playing 61 games for Hawthorn Francis made his debut for the Carlton Football Club in Round 9 of the 1934 season. He retired as a player at the end of the 1943 season and was appointed coach of the Blues from 1956 to 1958. Under his tenure the Blues struggled despite having a good side on paper and Francis was sacked in 1958. Francis was bitter about the firing and never spoke to his former close friend and Carlton coaching successor Ken Hands again.
Francis was appointed St Kilda Football Club senior coach for 1959–60, again achieving modest on-field results.