James Franklin (American football coach)
February 2, 1972 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
East Stroudsburg (DB)
Roskilde Kings (OC)
James Madison (WR)
Washington State (TE)
Idaho State (WR)
Green Bay Packers (WR)
Kansas State (OC/QB)
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
Franklin was born in Langhorne, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1972. He attended Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, and went to college at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he played as a quarterback all four years. In that position, he set seven school records and was a Division II player of the year nominee in 1994. Sports Illustrated named him a National Player of the Week that season. He earned a Bachelors of Science degree in psychology in 1995.
He began his coaching career in 1995 as a wide receivers coach at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. The following season, he took over as the coach of the defensive secondary for his alma mater, East Stroudsburg. That year, he was also the offensive coordinator for the Roskilde Kings of the Danish American Football Federation. In 1997, he became wide receivers coach at James Madison, and, the following year, became tight ends coach at Washington State.
In 1999, he served as wide receivers coach at Idaho State. That year, the Bengals recorded 29 touchdowns, 258 receptions, and in excess of 3,300 passing yards for one of the best statistical seasons in school history. Idaho State ranked ninth nationally in total offense that year.
Franklin first served at the University of Maryland as the wide receivers coach starting in 2000. In November 2000, head coach Ron Vanderlinden was dismissed and replaced by Ralph Friedgen, a Maryland alum and former Georgia Tech offensive coordinator. Friedgen retained Franklin as the wide receivers coach, one of only two assistants to be kept on the new coaching staff (running backs coach Mike Locksley was the other).
In 2003, Franklin's duties expanded to include the position of recruiting coordinator. Since then, he has been considered a top recruiter. His geographic areas of concentration for recruiting were Baltimore; Prince George's County, Maryland; and public schools in Washington, D.C. In 2005, Franklin departed Maryland to serve as the wide receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. From 2006 to 2007, he worked at Kansas State as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Franklin returned to Maryland for the 2008 season as the offensive coordinator. He assumed duties from Friedgen himself, who had made offensive play calls since the departure of Charlie Taaffe in 2005. There, Franklin implemented a West Coast offense. On February 6, 2009, Maryland officially designated Franklin as the head coach-in-waiting.
Vanderbilt considered Franklin a candidate for its head coaching position vacated with the forced resignation of Robbie Caldwell after the 2010 season. The Washington Post reported other candidates for the job were Al Golden of Temple and Larry Coker of UTSA (and formerly Miami), and that Franklin was not the frontrunner. After Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn turned down the job, Vanderbilt began talks to hire Franklin as its head coach. On December 17, Vanderbilt announced Franklin had been hired as head coach. Franklin is the first African American to be head coach of a major sport at Vanderbilt, and the third to be a head football coach in the Southeastern Conference (after Sylvester Croom, formerly at Mississippi State, and former Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips).
Convinced of the strength of Southeastern Conference football, Franklin in the final regular-season coaches poll for 2012 ranked three SEC teams—Alabama, Georgia, Florida—ahead of the consensus Number 1 team, Notre Dame. Interestingly enough, after a blow-out loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game, Notre Dame finished the season ranked 4th in the AP Poll, providing validation for Franklin's "controversial" ballot.
Franklin led Vanderbilt to a bowl game all three of his seasons as head coach at Vanderbilt, a team that had never previously participated in a bowl game in consecutive seasons. In his second season (2012), the Commodores finished 9–4 and ranked in both the Associated Press and USA Today end-of-season coaches' top 25 for the first time since 1948 (and the first ranking in any week since 2008). It was just the third nine-win season in school history. Additionally, Vanderbilt's fifteen combined wins in Franklin's first two years in charge was the Commodores' highest total since 1926–1927. In his third season at Vanderbilt, the Commodores again finish 9-4 and were ranked in the AP and USA TODAY top 25 poll. Franklin finished his Vanderbilt career with a record of 24-15 (an average of 8 wins per year).
Franklin's departure from Vanderbilt was not without controversy, as his sudden move to Penn State upset much of the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities. In the days following the move, Franklin was forced to discuss his involvement with a gang rape incident that was caused by Franklin's incoming recruits.
Though Franklin posted the highest winning percentage of a coach in the modern era at Vanderbilt, his departure viewed as a bitter due to the way he persuaded recruits away from Vanderbilt to attend Penn State university. “I’ve never seen it in this volume, quite this fast, of someone trying to pillage their own commitment class for their new job,” said Jesse Johnson of Rivals recruiting site VandySports.com.
On January 11, 2014, the Athletic Department at Penn State announced the appointment of James Franklin as the new head football coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State agreed to pay $1.5 million that Franklin owed Vanderbilt for early termination of his contract, Penn State disclosed this information January 24, 2014 according to USA TODAY Sports. He received a six-year contract it will pay him $4.3 for the 2014 season, including a $300,000 retention bonus payable if he is Penn State's coach on Dec. 31, 2014. He has an annual guaranteed pay increase of $100,000 along with retention bonuses, plus performance incentives each year. During his first few press conferences, he has said how he wants Penn State to once again be the most dominant school in recruiting in Pennsylvania. 
Head coaching record
|Vanderbilt Commodores (Southeastern Conference) (2011–2013)|
|2011||Vanderbilt||6–7||2–6||T–4th (East)||L Liberty|
|2012||Vanderbilt||9–4||5–3||4th (East)||W Music City||20||23|
|2013||Vanderbilt||9–4||4–4||4th (East)||W BBVA Compass||23||24|
|Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten Conference) (2014–present)|
|2014||Penn State||0–0||0–0||(East) ‡||‡||‡|
|Penn State:||0–0||0–0||‡ Ineligible for Big Ten title, bowl game and Coaches' Poll|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|†Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- Player Bio: James Franklin, University of Maryland, retrieved February 6, 2009.
- Ron Vanderlinden Released as Terps' Head Football Coach, University of Maryland, November 19, 2000, retrieved February 6, 2009.
- Friedgen Announces Hiring of Final Assistant, University of Maryland, January 21, 2001, retrieved February 6, 2009.
- Franklin to succeed Friedgen as coach, ESPN, February 6, 2009.
- Franklin is Friedgen's successor, The Washington Times, February 6, 2009.
- Vanderbilt and Franklin, Friedgen and an extension, The Washington Post, December 5, 2010.
- James Franklin to take Vanderbilt job, CSN Washington, December 14, 2010.
- "James Franklin: Vanderbilt Football Head Coach" (Press release). Vanderbilt University Athletics. December 17, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Associated Press (December 17, 2010). "James Franklin takes over at Vandy". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
- Lockridge, Jeff (2012-12-03). "Vanderbilt's James Franklin explains controversial ballot". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- http://espn.go.com/college-football/rankings/_/seasontype/3%7Caccessdate = 2013-02-16|source = ESPN
- "Vanderbilt caps stellar year, tops NC State in Music City Bowl". Associated Press. ESPN.com. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Mike Huguenin (January 11, 2014). "James Franklin hired as Penn State's new coach". www.nfl.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 11, 2014.