James Franklin bolts Vandy, SEC as Penn State gets their man
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has agreed to terms with Penn State to become the school’s head football coach.
*FOX Sports update: In an official statement released on Friday, Penn State announced president Rodney Erickson and AD Dave Joyner, "are scheduled [to] make a major announcement on Saturday," although the subject of the press conference was not stated.
The announcement came after The Tennessean reported Franklin, Vanderbilt AD David Williams, and a major booster were scheduled to meet on Friday in Nashville.
“We love James and we’re fighting hard to keep James, and we’re going to do everything that we can to do that,” the donor, John Ingram, told the aforementioned media outlet. “These situations don’t age well for anybody. I think the coach needs to make a decision. Vanderbilt needs a decision. Penn State needs a decision.
“We certainly look forward to an opportunity to reiterate to James how much we’d like him to stay. I think this has to be resolved quickly, and hopefully it will.”
Citing a university source, the Centre Daily Times reported Thursday that the contract of an unnamed coach, "likely will be approved during a special meeting Saturday."
Over three seasons coaching the Commodores, Franklin, 41, compiled a 24-15 overall record and went 11-13 in the SEC. He also led the program to three consecutive bowl appearances, winning two of those games. Prior to his arrival in Nashville from the University of Maryland, the program suffered a 4-20 record and recorded only one win in the Southeastern Conference over two seasons.
Franklin’s coaching future was a hot topic before he agreed to coach the Nittany Lions. He reportedly interviewed with Texas and the Houston Texans of the National Football League, though the former has since brought on ex- Louisville coach Charlie Strong, while the Texans have signed former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien. Franklin reportedly received interest from the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins as well.
While the Commodores’ 9-4 record this past season marked the first time in program history the program posted back-to-back nine-win campaigns, Franklin has also been credited as a guiding force behind the success of senior WR Jordan Matthews, the SEC’s all-time leader for receptions and yards.
Franklin will replace former head coach Bill O’Brien, who held the job for two years.
Here’s my original Twitter post on the Franklin coaching news:
As I tweeted two days ago, James Franklin to Penn State would be official as soon as offer was official. It’s official now.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) January 9, 2014