A process that took roughly three days to finalize ended in about three minutes on Saturday morning.
James Franklin was officially named Penn State football’s 16th head coach following the unanimous approval of a contract by the school’s committee on compensation.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to come home,” Franklin said in a statement. “I grew up watching Penn State football and now to be at the helm of such a storied program is a tremendous honor. It’s important to me to be a part of a university that strives for excellence in everything they do.
“I’m incredibly excited to get to know the students, alumni, and fans who have demonstrated such loyalty to the university as a whole and to the football program in particular. I’ve worked my way through every division of football and no other school boasts a fan base like we do.”
Franklin, 41, grew up in Langhorne in Bucks County, went to high school at Neshaminy and played quarterback in college for East Stroudsburg.
His work as an offensive coordinator at Kansas State and Maryland landed him the head coaching job at Vanderbilt, where he went 24-15 over the last three seasons.
Terms of the deal will be released later today. Multiple outlets have reported the contract to be worth roughly $4.5 million per year, making Franklin one of the highest paid college football coaches in the country.
Franklin is set to be formally introduced at 4:15 p.m. at Beaver Stadium. He remained in Nashville on Saturday morning to address Vanderbilt players and coaches face-to-face.
Check back to timesleader.com for more updates and follow up-to-the-minute developments on Twitter.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Rodney Erickson, Penn State president
“Dr. Joyner and I have stressed that our No. 1 priority in hiring a new coach was to hire an outstanding leader for our football program, one who will continue our long tradition of student-athlete success on the field and in the classroom. We have achieved that goal. On behalf of the University and the entire Nittany Lion Nation, I am proud to welcome James Franklin as Penn State’s 16th head football coach.
“Coach Franklin’s record of success is extraordinary, but even more impressive is his passion for not only the game of football, but also creating an atmosphere in which student-athletes can succeed. His character, work ethic, values and knowledge of the game make him an outstanding fit for our program and to lead our student-athletes
Dave Joyner, Penn State athletic director
“We launched this search with several priorities, but our primary focus was to identify someone who shared our commitment to integrity, academics and winning championships. We have found that person in James Franklin.
“Coach Franklin is a highly regarded coach and tremendous leader, but more importantly, he shares the same vision for Penn State Football that we, and our fans, have for the program. His record shows that he takes great pride in the academic and athletic success of his student-athletes. We’re thrilled to welcome Coach Franklin to Penn State.”
David Williams, Vanderbilt athletic director
“I received a phone call last night from Coach Franklin saying he was going to accept a new opportunity. There is no question that James Franklin’s outstanding work has helped put Vanderbilt football on the national stage.
“We are extremely sorry to see the Franklin family leave our university and community, and we thank them and wish them the very best. Because of James, Fumi, Shola and Addy Franklin, our program is stronger in every way than it was just a few short years ago.”
“Congratulations to Coach James Franklin! Excited to get started!”
“Welcome to the family Coach Franklin! Excited for the future.”
“I’ve known Coach Franklin for many years and he’s going to bring the best to Penn State!”
“James Franklin to Penn State is official. A relentless recruiter. Rival coaches didn’t want him there. They know he’ll work.”
“First, I appreciate what Bill O’Brien did stepping into an incredibly difficult situation two years ago. He led by focusing the players on what they could control and he and his staff did a great job of coaching up the players they inherited.
“Now he is where he belongs and where really wanted to be (NFL), where it is all about X & O’s and coaching ball and PSU is better for it. Penn State should not be a stepping stone job. This coach must be in for the long haul because there is still much work and healing needed.
“As a Penn Stater, Al Golden would have been my first choice because he knows firsthand what the program has really been about and loves PSU. Having said that, I am good with James Franklin. Passionate. Dynamic. Relationship-oriented. Tireless recruiter. Smart guy with PA roots.
“Most of all, he’s coming from a place that balances academics and athletics well. He understands success with honor and will recruit to that. Hopefully the ENTIRE Penn State family (lettermen, alumni, board, students, fans), will be able to rally around and behind our new coach.”
“Welcome to Penn State, coach. You are in a special place. Hard not to be excited about Coach Franklin. Anxious to see him on the recruiting trail. Go get ‘em, Coach.”