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‘I Believe We’ve got the Best Football Coach in the Country’: Penn State AD Confident in James Franklin

Penn State's Next Athletic Director, Dr. Patrick Kraft, Speaks with Reporters at His Introductory Press Conference Friday, April 29, 2022 (photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

There are Penn State fans who would be happy if AD Pat Kraft fired James Franklin.

Although it’s probably impossible to survey every single PSU supporter, it’s likely safe to say that most fans don’t feel this way, and it’s also quite possible that the “fire Franklin” crowd is much smaller than it seems at times.

But that crowd does exist, and anybody who looks at social media hard enough during or in the hours after a Penn State loss would see that.

Unfortunately for that group, Franklin’s seat has never been hot during his nine years at Penn State, and it won’t be getting there anytime soon. So when Kraft took the Beaver Stadium media room podium— along with Franklin and Peach Bowl CEO Gary Stokan to formally accept Penn State’s invitation— nobody was necessarily looking for a vote of confidence from Kraft.

But what Kraft said about his head coach is sure to raise a few eyebrows from Franklin’s defenders and detractors alike.

“I believe we’ve got the best football coach in the country,” Kraft said.

For context, Kraft said this in response to Penn State’s ongoing defensive coordinator search, which began late last week when Manny Diaz became Duke’s head coach.

“I let our (head) coaches make decisions on assistant coaches…” Kraft said. “They’ve got to do their job, and that’s what their job is. I’m here to support them. I’m here to do whatever I can. I can be a sounding board for them, but I’m here to just support in any way that I can.”

Although many fans will try, it’s hard to argue that Franklin’s done a good job at Penn State. If PSU beats Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl Dec. 30, it will be the fifth 11-win season Penn State’s had in the past eight, all under Franklin’s watch.

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