James Franklin is one of three Black head coaches in the Big Ten.
That number is three times more than the number of African American head coaches currently employed by the national football league.
Yesterday, former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores– who was fired last month despite consecutive winning seasons– filed a lawsuit against the NFL for alleged discrimination in the league’s hiring process and also sued the Dolphins, Denver Broncos and New York Giants in a 58-page document.
Franklin is the first Black head coach in Penn State football history and one of just 14 in FBS college football today. One of the other 13, Marshall head coach Charles Huff, was an assistant for Franklin at both Vanderbilt and Penn State.
For Franklin, the current hiring process in his profession aren’t good enough.
“From a reality standpoint, the fact that it’s 2022 and we’re still kind of having these discussions, and there hasn’t been a whole lot of progress is somewhat crazy,” Franklin said. “If you look at from a historical perspective, the number of coaches of color in college football and in the NFL, you know, is probably concerning.
“I think the other thing is, you know, when you see some of the things that are going on behind the scenes as we all witnessed yesterday, that’s concerning as well. I think there’s been, obviously, some policies and some plans to try to help with that, but at the end of the day, those things have not made much of an impact. So at the end of the day, I think we have to really get down to the core issues and ‘why is it a problem in the first place?'”
Of the 14 Black head coaches in FBS, Franklin and Stanford head coach David Shaw are the two who have been at their respective schools the longest. Shaw has been Stanford’s head coach since 2011, and Franklin has been at Penn State since 2014.
“David Shaw’s a good friend of mine,” Franklin said. “We talk about these things a lot. I think guys like David and others, hopefully, including myself, can hopefully be part of the change that needs to happen.