University Park, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Penn State has called a press
conference for Saturday at 4:15 p.m. (et) at which the university is believed
to announce James Franklin as its new head football coach.
Multiple media outlets have reported that Franklin, currently the head coach
at Vanderbilt, has accepted the Nittany Lions' offer to replace new Houston
Texans sideline boss Bill O'Brien. ESPN.com stated Friday that Franklin will
receive a multi-year contract worth as much as $4.5 million annually.
Franklin emerged as one of the most sought-after commodities in the coaching
community after restoring a long-suffering Vanderbilt program to
respectability over his three years there. The Commodores put together a
second straight 9-4 season in 2013 and capped the campaign with a 41-24 win
over Houston in the recent BBVA Compass Bowl.
Vanderbilt compiled a 9-7 record in the challenging SEC over the past two
seasons despite Franklin having to navigate through higher academic guidelines
then the majority of his conference peers. With a 24-15 record during his
tenure with the Commodores, the 41-year-old becomes the first Vanderbilt coach
to post a winning mark since Steve Sloan went 12-9-2 from 1973-74.
Franklin, a Pennsylvania native and a former standout quarterback at Division
II East Stroudsburg, had also been considered a candidate for high-profile
jobs at USC and Texas and received interest for the vacant head-coaching
positions with the NFL's Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns.
O'Brien, who spent five seasons as an assistant with the New England Patriots
prior to taking over a sanction-ridden Penn State program in the wake of the
Jerry Sandusky scandal, was formally named the third head coach in Texans'
history last week. The 44-year-old guided the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 record
amidst heavy NCAA penalties during his two seasons in Happy Valley.
The Sports Network