James Franklin (American football coach)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James Franklin
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Penn State
Conference Big Ten
Record 25–15
Annual salary $4.2 million
Biographical details
Born (1972-02-02) February 2, 1972 (age 45)
Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Alma mater East Stroudsburg University
Playing career
1991–1994 East Stroudsburg
Position(s) Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1995 Kutztown (WR)
1996 East Stroudsburg (DB)
1996 Roskilde Kings (OC)
1997 James Madison (WR)
1998 Washington State (TE)
1999 Idaho State (WR)
2000–2004 Maryland (WR/RC)
2005 Green Bay Packers (WR)
2006–2007 Kansas State (OC/QB)
2008–2010 Maryland (AHC/OC/QB)
2011–2013 Vanderbilt
2014–present Penn State
Head coaching record
Overall 49–30
Bowls 3–3
Accomplishments and honors
1 Big Ten (2016)
1 Big Ten East Division (2016)
1 Woody Hayes Coach of the Year (2016)
1 Dave McClain Coach of the Year (2016)
1 Sporting News Coach of the Year (2016)

James E. Franklin (born February 2, 1972) is an American football coach, and former player. He is currently the head football coach at Penn State University. Franklin previously served as the head football coach at Vanderbilt University.

Early years[edit]

James E. 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 Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in 1995. Franklin was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity while at East Stroudsburg.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

Franklin began his coaching career in 1995 coaching wide receivers 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.[2]

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.[2]

Franklin has also held internships at several National Football League (NFL) franchises, including the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and Minnesota Vikings.[2]


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.[3] 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).[4]

In 2003, Franklin's duties expanded to include the position of recruiting coordinator.[2] Since then, he has been considered a top recruiter.[5] His geographic areas of concentration for recruiting were Baltimore; Prince George's County, Maryland; Charles County, Maryland; and public schools in Washington, D.C.[2] In 2005, Franklin departed Maryland to serve as the wide receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.

Kansas State[edit]

Franklin served at Kansas State University as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the 2006 and 2007 seasons.[2] He joined head coach Ron Prince as the first coaching staff to follow the legendary Bill Snyder. During his tenure at K-State, Franklin nurtured record setting offensive talent; including the future NFL starters quarterback Josh Freeman and All-America wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Despite impressive wins over a top 5 team and an appearance in the inaugural Texas Bowl, the Wildcat program was a far cry from the title contending teams fielded during the Snyder era. Franklin left the Wildcat coaching staff prior to Ron Prince's 2008 dismissal, and subsequent return of Coach Bill Snyder.


Vanderbilt considered Franklin a candidate for its head coaching position vacated with the forced resignation of interim coach Robbie Caldwell after the 2010 season.[6] 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.[6] After Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn turned down the job, Vanderbilt began talks to hire Franklin as its head coach.[7] On December 17, Vanderbilt announced Franklin had been hired as head coach.[8] 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).[9]

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.[10]

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.[11] In his third season at Vanderbilt, the Commodores again finished 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.[12] In the days following the move, Franklin was also forced to discuss his response to a gang rape by four players he recruited.[13]

Penn State[edit]

On January 11, 2014, the Athletic Department at Penn State announced the appointment of Franklin as the head football coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions.[14] 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 ten-year contract, which paid him $4.3 million for the 2014 season, including a $300,000 retention bonus payable if he was Penn State's coach on December 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 again be the most dominant school in recruiting in Pennsylvania.[15] During the 2016 season, Penn State started the season 2-2, but Franklin rallied his team to win the next eight games, winning the Big Ten's East Division, followed by a victory over Wisconsin in the 2016 Big Ten Football Championship Game. For his team's turn around, Franklin was named the Dave McClain Coach of the Year in the Big Ten.[16][17]

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southeastern Conference) (2011–2013)
2011 Vanderbilt 6–7 2–6 T–4th (Eastern) L Liberty
2012 Vanderbilt 9–4 5–3 4th (Eastern) W Music City 20 23
2013 Vanderbilt 9–4 4–4 4th (Eastern) W BBVA Compass 23 24
Vanderbilt: 24–15 11–13
Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten Conference) (2014–present)
2014 Penn State 7–6 2–6 6th (East) W Pinstripe
2015 Penn State 7–6 4–4 4th (East) L TaxSlayer
2016 Penn State 11–3 8–1 T–1st (East) L Rose 7 7
Penn State: 25–15 14–11
Total: 49–30
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title


  1. ^ As noted in this Morning Call post, accessed 30 Nov 2016, Franklin was recently honored by his alma mater, and enjoyed a reunion with his fellow fraternity brothers.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Player Bio: James E. Franklin Archived January 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., University of Maryland, retrieved February 6, 2009.
  3. ^ Ron Vanderlinden Released as Terps' Head Football Coach, University of Maryland, November 19, 2000, retrieved February 6, 2009.
  4. ^ Friedgen Announces Hiring of Final Assistant, University of Maryland, January 21, 2001, retrieved February 6, 2009.
  5. ^ Franklin to succeed Friedgen as coach, ESPN, February 6, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Vanderbilt and Franklin, Friedgen and an extension, The Washington Post, December 5, 2010.
  7. ^ "James E. Franklin to take Vanderbilt job". CSN Washington. December 14, 2010. 
  8. ^ "James E. Franklin: Vanderbilt Football Head Coach" (Press release). Vanderbilt University Athletics. December 17, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010. 
  9. ^ Associated Press (December 17, 2010). "James E. Franklin takes over at Vandy". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  10. ^ Lockridge, Jeff (December 3, 2012). "Vanderbilt's James E. Franklin explains controversial ballot". USA Today. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Vanderbilt caps stellar year, tops NC State in Music City Bowl". Associated Press. ESPN.com. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  12. ^ http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140126/COLUMNIST0203/301260054/Vanderbilt-fans-urge-painter-brush-off-James-Franklin-quickly[dead link]
  13. ^ "Penn State". centredaily. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 
  14. ^ Mike Huguenin (January 11, 2014). "James E. Franklin hired as Penn State's new coach". www.nfl.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  15. ^ "James E. Franklin touts 'really good plan' at Penn State". USA Today. January 24, 2014. 
  16. ^ "2016 Big Ten Individual Award Winners" (PDF). www.grfx.cstv.com. Big Ten Conference. Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  17. ^ "James Franklin Wins Woody Hayes Coach of the Year Award | FOX Sports". FOX Sports. 2017-01-10. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 

External links[edit]