Penn State is expected to hire Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as its next head football coach, with an official announcement coming by the weekend, according to multiple reports.
CBS Sports first reported that Penn State was finalizing a deal with Franklin.
But as the contract has not yet been completed, Franklin has not told Vanderbilt that he is leaving, and the school is proceeding as such.
“(Franklin) called to let me know the reports that he had accepted another job were inaccurate,” Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams told The Associated Press Thursday afternoon. “And I didn’t ask anything more than that nor did he volunteer anything more than that.”
Two years ago, roughly 24 hours passed from when Bill O’Brien agreed to coach the Nittany Lions and the school formally announced his hiring while all of the details were ironed out.
Franklin had rocketed onto the national radar in the past three years, leading Vanderbilt to its best results in more than a century, going 24-15 in the dominant SEC and winning consecutive bowl games.
A Pennsylvania native and East Stroudsburg University graduate, Franklin has been of interest to Penn State since O’Brien left to take a job with the Houston Texans at the turn of the new year.
The situation appeared to accelerate on Wednesday as a private plane carrying Penn State officials, including president Rodney Erickson and athletic director Dave Joyner, flew to Destin, Fla. Williams confirmed that Franklin and his family have a home in Destin.
Franklin, however, did not return to State College with them on Wednesday night.
Williams called Franklin “the best college football coach in America” this week because of his work as a coach and a recruiter with the Commodores.
Penn State has also discussed the job with interim head coach Larry Johnson, Penn State alums Al Golden and Mike Munchak and San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Check back to timesleader.com for further updates.