|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Vandy's Franklin takes over at Penn St.

  • STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — James Franklin grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, a strong-willed if not exactly strong-armed high school quarterback who believed he was good enough to play at Penn State.
    • email print
  • STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — James Franklin grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, a strong-willed if not exactly strong-armed high school quarterback who believed he was good enough to play at Penn State.
    Joe Paterno's coaching staff didn't exactly agree, and while Franklin's arm led to him a decorated career at Division II East Stroudsburg (Pa.), his will led him to the place he wanted to be all along.
    Home.
    More than two decades after a futile attempt to draw Penn State's attention as a player, the university hired the charismatic 41-year-old as its next head coach on Saturday.
    "I'm a Pennsylvania boy," Franklin said, "with a Penn State heart."
    One charged with continuing the painstaking and sometimes painful rebuilding process started by Bill O'Brien, who took over in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal more than two years ago.
    But O'Brien bolted for the NFL's Houston Texans on New Year's Eve, opening the door for Franklin, who breathed life into a moribund program at Vanderbilt, winning 24 games over three seasons and leading the Commodores to three straight bowl games.
    More will be expected here — eventually. That's fine by Franklin, who insists he didn't sign the six-year contract reportedly worth around $4.5 million a season to use the Nittany Lions as a stepping stone.
    As far as O'Brien brought Penn State in two years, leading Penn State to a 15-9 record and ushering the Nittany Lions fully into the 21st century, much work remains to be done. The standard isn't to merely be competitive.
    Franklin led one of the more stirring turnarounds in recent college football history. The Commodores went 16-4 over his final 20 games, second only to Alabama over that span in the SEC. Vanderbilt won the final seven games of 2012 and the final five of 2013.
Reader Reaction

      calendar