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Vandy to make another (final?) push to retain James Franklin

James Franklin Getty Images

The ménage à trois that is the James Franklin/Vanderbilt/Penn State tango is expected to come to an end at some point this weekend, but not without Vandy making one final run at retaining its head coach.

Appearing on 102.5 The Game in Nashville Friday morning, VU athletic director David Williams confirmed that he intends — intends being the key word — to speak with Franklin later on today as speculation continues to grow that the coach is ticketed for Happy Valley.  Williams added that he was unsure if the talk would be face-to-face or through another form of communication.

“(We) had a real short text exchange this morning about talking later today. …

“We talked about talking later today. Sometimes I sort of throw the word ‘meet’ or ‘talk,’ and even talk could be by email. So we’re just sort of, ‘How you doing this morning? How are things going? Are you going to have some time to chat later on this afternoon?’ And so we’re going back and forth to try to set up some time to do some talking. I don’t necessarily know if it will be in person. I’m not sure of that, but certainly to do some chatting sometime this afternoon.”

Late Thursday night, it was reported that Penn State had offered Franklin its head-coaching job, with reports emerging later that Franklin-to-PSU was a done deal.  Shortly after Williams stated he anticipated Franklin would be coaching the Commodores in their 2014 opener, reported that “[a] contract making… Franklin the next Penn State coach should be finalized and approved at a meeting of the school’s newly formed compensation committee Saturday morning.”

One way or the other, it appears Saturday will determine whether Penn State needs to continue its search… or whether Vanderbilt will be forced to begin one of its own.

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12 Responses to “Vandy to make another (final?) push to retain James Franklin”
  1. sdiegosteel says: Jan 10, 2014 1:00 PM

    Penn State’s compensation committee needs to stop driving 40 MPH with the turn signal on in the left hand lane. What’s taking so long – – what else do you have to do that is making this a five day process? I want Franklin for the Lions but it would serve us right if Vandy retained him. The lack of urgency is maddening.

  2. youcantmakemepickausername says: Jan 10, 2014 1:15 PM


    Well said. When i saw the headline my first thought was “why wouldn’t they (Vandy) try? There’s still plenty of time for Joyner and the BOT to screw this up”.

  3. flashdeath says: Jan 10, 2014 1:19 PM

    The ineptitude is maddening. Happy valley will be poison ground for coaches for another 20 years.

  4. realfootballfan says: Jan 10, 2014 1:26 PM

    I wwasn’t too familiar with this guy past a game here or there, but I saw those comments he made last year about not hiring assistant coaches until he sees that they have a D-1 level blue chip type hot wife, lol. Best quote ever. Hire this man, Penn State.

  5. psudu says: Jan 10, 2014 1:29 PM

    @flash…it sure looked like Happy Valley was poisonous for Bill O’Brien…

  6. wadaea says: Jan 10, 2014 1:57 PM

    I guess the big question I see is why would you go down a level to coach in a irrelevant conference when you can stay in the top conference.

  7. babyfarkmcgeezax says: Jan 10, 2014 2:14 PM

    wadaea said:

    “I guess the big question I see is why would you go down a level to coach in a irrelevant conference when you can stay in the top conference.”

    Yes, because if he goes to Penn State it actually means he is becoming the new head coach of the Big Ten. Or are you trying to say Vanderbilt actually has a more prestigious football program than Penn State? Last I checked, the SEC isn’t a team and the most recent national champion isn’t even from the SEC, but you can keep riding Alabama’s coattails if you like since Vanderbilt certainly had nothing to do with the run of SEC national titles. The only thing Vanderbilt has over Penn State football-wise is the lack of rhythmic slapping sounds echoing through the showers.

  8. lorddarkhelmet says: Jan 10, 2014 2:49 PM

    compensation committee!? Are you kidding me? I know your last athletic director failed to do his job but as a general rule shouldn’t you allow your athletic director to handle things like coaching compensation

  9. 8to80texansblog says: Jan 10, 2014 2:53 PM

    Even the most diehard SEC fan can’t reasonably contend that Vandy is a better job than Penn St.

    Would Franklin pass up Penn St. for more money and a chance to continue building a good program in Nashville… probably have to be a good bit more money….

    State College does get cold in the winter, but 100k+ screaming fans tend to help warm you up on Saturday afternoons.

  10. kosarkid says: Jan 10, 2014 2:56 PM

    They do know this guy is involved in a current rape investigation right? Maybe he’s jetting to a school that would be more apt to cover it up though.

  11. musiccitymiracle2 says: Jan 10, 2014 3:00 PM

    Live in Nashville, SEC guy, Auburn parent…

    Franklin is the real deal. Has been great for Vandy. Would be great for PSU. Would be great almost anywhere. Great personality, super recruiter, he energized a school that had a football tradition of showing up in the second quarter. If you are successful, there will be opportunities.

    Not a money deal. VU is private, so we don’t know for sure, but reportedly over $3M now, probably offering more to stay. VU has a $3 billion endowment…they won’t lose on money.

    It comes down to the opportunity. Yes, we all believe SEC is way better than B1G, but it is likely that JF has already maxed out what he can do at Vandy. I supposed VU could remotely possibly win the East in a year like this one. Remember that the real SEC strength is in the West. If Franklin is a builder, then his work here might be done. Would you rather be a SEC middle of the pack hopeful (under .500 in conference some years) or perennially compete for the B1G title?

    His star at VU will never be brighter, or not much brigher anyway. If you are open to leaving, this is the time. Go to the B1G where you only have to worry about tOSU, MSU, and Wisconsin. I think he is a builder, wants to be a champion, and can do that in B1G, but not at VU.

    Great guy has been super for VU. Hope he stays but get it if he leaves.

  12. 8to80texansblog says: Jan 10, 2014 5:28 PM

    As of 2012, Vandy’s Athletic department made a net income of over $5MM… I imagine the longer he stays, the bigger that number will become but adding an additional $1MM to his salary, which is what Vandy would need to do in order to match PSU, would take 20% of their net income. That’s a big chunk…

    Meanwhile, Penn State pulled in $31MM in net income…. The extra $1.2MM they are paying Franklin over what O’Brien got constitutes less than 4% of their net income….

    Endowments don’t pay salaries, athletic dept revenues do….

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