PSU expected to welcome coach
Penn State is expected to introduce James Franklin as its new football coach during a news conference this afternoon at Beaver Stadium, according to several national media outlets tracking the school’s coaching search.
Penn State released a statement Friday afternoon on Twitter saying President Rodney Erickson and Athletic Director Dave Joyner “will make a major announcement” during today’s scheduled event at 4:15 p.m.
Barring any unforeseen developments, Franklin will be introduced, although there continues to be no confirmation from either side on the issue.
Franklin, meanwhile, has a meeting with his team at Vanderbilt scheduled for 9 a.m. today, according to the The Tennesseean in Nashville. The newspaper, citing a source, reported it’s unclear if Franklin will be telling the players he’s leaving for Penn State or staying at Vanderbilt.
At this point, it would be considered a major surprise if Franklin does turn down PSU and remains with the Commodores. He was, The Tennesseean reported, scheduled to meet Friday with Vanderbilt Athletic Director David Williams and some influential boosters, perhaps in a last-ditch attempt for the school to try and persuade him to stay.
The compensation committee of Penn State’s Board of Trustees has a conference call scheduled for this morning to discuss an employee contract, and Franklin is believed to be the subject.
If hired, Franklin’s total compensation at Penn State could be as much as $4.5 million per year, ESPN.com reported. He is believed to have been making about $3 million per year at Vanderbilt, where he coached the past three seasons.
Franklin, 41, has compiled a 24-15 record in his time at Vanderbilt, including 9-4 records each of the past two seasons. Playing in the Southeastern Conference, considered the toughest college league in the country, Franklin’s teams went 5-3 in 2012 and 4-4 in 2013 in conference play.
Until Franklin’s arrival, Vanderbilt had long struggled in the SEC with only four bowl appearances in 121 years and two winning seasons in the 35 years before Franklin took over.
Franklin is a native of Langhorne, Pa., who played quarterback at East Stroudsburg in the early 1990s. He then began his coaching career as an assistant in 1995 at Kutztown and worked his way up the coaching ladder until getting a chance to lead a team at Vanderbilt in 2011.