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Penn State Football

9 Years Ago Today: James Franklin Hired as Penn State HC

Photo by Penn State Athletics: James Franklin

On this day in 2014, Penn State hired James Franklin to be its head football coach.

Franklin came to Happy Valley after a successful three-year run at Vanderbilt.

Before Franklin got to Vandy, the team had only won two bowl game in a history that dates back to 1902.

Vandy won two bowl games in Franklin’s three years and went 9-4 in both the 2012 and ‘13 seasons. Franklin impressed enough in Nashville to be noticed in State College, and Penn State hired him to replace Bill O’Brien— who left for the NFL’s Houston Texans after two seasons,— and take charge of the football program. Franklin became the 16th head coach in Penn State’s history and just the third full-time boss since 1950.

”My name is James Franklin,” Franklin told reporters at his introductory press conference, “the next head football coach at Penn State University, and I couldn’t be more proud to represent everybody here.”

Franklin has been representing Penn State for almost a decade now, and the school hopes he’ll represent it for much longer. Penn State extended Franklin for 10 years and more than $75 million in  November of 2021. So far, the investment has paid off. Franklin is 78-36 through nine seasons at Penn State and has led Penn State to 11-win campaigns in four of the last six years, including this past season. The highlights of Franklin’s tenure include the 2016 Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl win over Utah earlier this month. Franklin got his 100th win as a college head coach Nov. 19 at Rutgers.

“We feel that we had a great pool of candidates,” then-athletic director Dr. Dave Joyner said when introducing Franklin, “and Coach Franklin is the right choice for us. “He’s going to be a great representative of the terms I use; integrity, academics and championships.”

Although he’s drawn plenty of criticism from Penn State fans over the years, it’s hard to argue that the day Penn State hired James Franklin wasn’t a good one.

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