It’s official: James Franklin has been named the new head football coach at Penn State University. It has been a drawn out process, but the school finally announced Franklin’s hiring on Saturday morning. University officials will formally introduce him at a press conference later in the day.
Penn State reportedly spoke with numerous candidates, including alumni Al Golden and Mike Munchak, before settling on Franklin. He replaces Bill O’Brien, who left the team to coach the NFL’s Houston Texans.
Though he has no official ties to the university, Franklin is a Pennsylvania native. In a statement, he expressed his happiness to be returning to the Keystone State.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to come home,” James Franklin said in statement. “I grew up watching Penn State football.”
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) January 11, 2014
While at Vanderbilt, Franklin turned the Commodores, formally an SEC afterthought, into a conference contender. He proved the ability to successfully recruit and coach at a school with tight academic restrictions. The coupling of his Pennsylvania roots and ability to maximize players’ abilities despite university constraints makes Franklin an attractive hire by Penn State.