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Penn State Football: James Franklin Hired As 16th Head Coach Of Penn State Football Program

by on January 11, 2014 9:10 AM

James Franklin has been named the 16th head coach of Penn State football the program announced on Saturday morning. Franklin will be introduced at a press conference this afternoon at 4:15 inside Beaver Stadium.

"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," Penn State President Rodney Erickson said. "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."

A Langhorne, Pennsylvania native, Franklin was born on February 2, 1972. Franklin attended college at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania where he played as a quarterback all four years. Franklin would set several school records and was a Division II player of the year nominee in 1994. He earned a Bachelors of Science degree in psychology in 1995. 

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After making stops at 10 different programs between 1995 and 2011, Franklin took over as head coach at Vanderbilt University.

During his three seasons at Vanderbilt, Franklin turned a normally overlooked SEC program into a viable threat to any school in the conference. Vanderbilt went 9-4 and won two bowl games in the second and third seasons under Franklin, going 5-3 and 4-4 in conference play. In 2012, Vanderbilt finished the season ranked No. 23, winning the last seven games of the season.

While additional moves have not yet been made official, it is likely that Franklin will bring with him much of his Vanderbilt staff, a nationally recognized assemblage of coaching talent that helped turn the Vanderbilt program around.

No indication has been made at this point regarding the future of long-time Penn State assistant and interim head coach Larry Johnson Sr.

Franklin's contract was approved on Saturday morning with a 6-0 vote. Details regarding his contract will be released this afternoon. CBS Sports is reporting the deal with worth $4.5 million per year over 6 years.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to come home," Franklin stated. "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. When football student-athletes come to Penn State, they have a unique opportunity to receive a premium education while playing at the highest level of competition.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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