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Franklin named Tri-State Coach of the Year; McSorley named Brian Westbrook Award Tri-State Player of the Year
Third-year Penn State head coach among finalists for AP and Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards
Franklin is second Nittany Lion mentor to win the honor, joining Joe Paterno
Football Championship boosts Nittany Lions to 100th title since winning first Big Ten crown in 1992-93
Barkley named Offensive Player of the Year; Franklin selected as Coach of the Year
James Franklin First 48 Hours
Jan. 2, 2017
Check out the Penn State USATSI photo gallery from the game against Michigan State.
Nov. 5, 2016
Check out the USA Today photo gallery from the football game between No. 24 Penn State and Purdue
Oct. 22, 2016
CAREER AT A GLANCE
• Franklin enters his sixth year as a collegiate head coach, leading his first five squads to a bowl game, with post-season victories the past three of the last four years.
• He owns a 38-27 career record, with four consecutive winning seasons.
• Franklin has 21 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and NFL level.
• In his first four years as a head coach, Franklin mentored 16 players that have gone on to the NFL ranks.
• Franklin has secured Top 25 recruiting classes each of the last four seasons, including back-to-back Top 20 classes at Penn State.
• Franklin emphasizes four core values for the Penn State program -- a positive attitude, great work ethic, competing on and off the field and the ability to sacrifice.
NITTANY LIONS ON THE FIELD
• Franklin was named the 16th head football coach in the storied history of the Nittany Lion program on January 11, 2014.
• Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to a 7-6 record in 2015 and a berth in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
• Under Franklin's tutelage, Carl Nassib claimed a trio of national awards -- Lombardi Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award -- and became Penn State's 13th unanimous Consensus All-American.
• Nassib also led the nation in sacks with a school-record 15.5 in 2015.
• The 2015 season also saw Christian Hackenberg break every Penn State career passing record, including passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions, and true freshman Saquon Barkley break the freshman season rushing record with a 1,000-yard campaign.
• Barkley was named the Big Ten Network's Freshman of the Year and claimed second team All-Big Ten honors, while wide receiver Chris Godwin (second team) and defensive tackles Austin Johnson (second team) and Anthony Zettel (third team) also earned All-Big Ten accolades.
• Franklin's first season was bookended with a pair of thrilling victories for the Nittany Lions as the Penn State head coach's inaugural season began with a final-play 26-24 victory over UCF in Dublin, Ireland in Penn State's first-ever international game and ended with a comeback, a 31-30 overtime win over Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. The Nittany Lions overcame a 14-point deficit late in the third quarter, tying the largest comeback in Penn State's bowl history.
• With the Pinstripe Bowl win, Franklin became just the third Penn State coach to lead the team to at least seven wins in his first season, joining Dick Harlow (1915) and Bill O'Brien (2012).
• Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to a 4-0 start, joining Harlow as the only first-year Penn State coaches to win their initial four games.
• In Franklin's first season at Penn State, he helped Mike Hull to the Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year award to carry on the "Linebacker U" tradition.
• Zettel earned All-Big Ten first team honors, while receiver DaeSean Hamilton garnered All-Big Ten second team accolades after pulling in 82 catches for 899 yards.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE CLASSROOM
• The 2015 fall semester saw the Nittany Lions post a record 56 squad members with at least a 3.0 grade-point average, marking the fifth consecutive semester (including summer sessions) the Nittany Lions have had more than 50 student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA or better.
• The 56 Nittany Lions with a 3.0 GPA or higher surpasses the mark of 55 set by the 2008 fall semester for the most 3.0 students in a semester in football program history.
• Additionally, 22 Nittany Lions earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition in 2015.
• Tyler Yazujian collected a berth on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® second team in 2015.
• A total of 23 Nittany Lions posted a 3.5 GPA or higher in the 2015 fall semester, with 19 earning Dean's List recognition for having 3.5 GPA or higher with 12 credits earned in undergraduate work.
• The Nittany Lion freshmen were impressive in the 2015 fall semester with 14 posting a 3.0 or higher.
• During Franklin's first fall semester on campus, the football student-athletes set program records with 25 student-athletes earning Dean's List recognition (3.5 GPA) and 57 players owning a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average (GPA) or higher after the 2014 fall semester.
• Additionally, 51 squad members compiled at least a 3.0 GPA in the fall of 2014, the third-highest semester total in program history.
• The spring of 2015 saw continued success in the classroom with 51 student-athletes compiling at least a 3.0 GPA, marking the first time in program history with 50 or more 3.0s in a spring semester.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE COMMUNITY
• In the last two seasons, the Nittany Lions have completed more than 4,000 hours of community service.
• The Nittany Lions' community service activities include: Uplifting Athletes, THON, Pennsylvania Special Olympics Summer Games, State College Area Food Bank and Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital visits.
• The football team's 2,100 hours of community service in 2014-15 equate to nearly 40 percent of the 5,300 community service hours by Penn State student-athletes.
• The engaging and enthusiastic Franklin is a popular speaker and media interview subject. He was a guest analyst on ESPN's coverage from the site of college football's National Championship game, spending a day appearing on various ESPN platforms in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, Franklin joined the FOX studio crew for pregame, halftime and postgame coverage of the Big Ten Championship game.
• In February 2015, Franklin was the lone college head coach among the speakers and panelists at the prestigious MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. He was a panelist for the session, "The Formula to Win: College Football Analytics," which was moderated by CNN anchor/reporter Rachel Nichols.
• The Class of 2016 at Penn State finished in the Top 20, ranking as high as 18th by ESPN, and featured a pair of five-star recruits.
• In 2016, Franklin secured the No. 1 player in the state of Pennsylvania (Miles Sanders) for the first time since Jared Odrick (2006).
• The Nittany Lions laid claim to the No. 1 running back in the state of Pennsylvania in 2015 (Saquon Barkley) and 2016 (Sanders).
• Forty-three of the 70 signees under Franklin are from within a 350-mile radius of State College.
• In February 2015, the Nittany Lions' highly-regarded class of 25 signees was ranked in the Top 15 nationally by the four major recruiting services.
• Franklin and his staff organized a Top 25 recruiting class in short order after being hired at Penn State in January 2014.
• While at Vanderbilt, Franklin assembled a recruiting class that finished as high as 19th in 2014.
• In each of his three seasons in Nashville, Franklin signed classes that finished in the Top 50 nationally. Prior to Franklin's arrival, the Commodores average class rank was 64.6 since 2000 (based on 247Sports composite).
HELPING THE COMMODORES GET THEIR WINGS
• Franklin directed Vanderbilt to consecutive Top 25 finishes for the first time in the 124-year history of the program (No. 23/24 -- 2013 & No. 23/20 -- 2012).
• The Commodores finished 23rd in the final 2012 Associated Press poll, marking their first AP final ranking since 1948.
• Franklin's 24 wins tied Dan McGugin for the most by a Vanderbilt coach in his first three seasons.
• Franklin led Vanderbilt to a bowl game in each of his three seasons in Nashville, with the last two years resulting in wins over North Carolina State (Music City Bowl) and Houston (BBVA Compass Bowl). The Commodores had played in four bowl games all-time in the 121 seasons prior to his arrival, none in consecutive years.
• Vanderbilt has posted four nine-win seasons in program history, with Franklin's last two teams comprising half of the total.
• Over the last 20 games during the 2012-13 seasons, the Commodores' 16-4 record was second-best in the SEC to Alabama's 17-3 mark.
• Franklin guided the Commodores to a 6-6 regular-season record and earned a berth in the Liberty Bowl during his first season after inheriting a Vanderbilt team that finished 2-10 in both 2009 and 2010, including a 1-15 SEC mark.
• The 2011 bowl berth was Vanderbilt's second since 1983 and running back Zac Stacy broke the Commodores' season record with 1,193 rushing yards.
• The Commodores had a breakthrough campaign in 2012 under Franklin, finishing on a seven-game winning streak (longest since 1948) to post a 9-4 mark, Vanderbilt's most wins in 97 years, and a berth in the Music City Bowl, which VU defeated N.C. State, 38-24.
• A victory at Missouri sparked an 8-1 finish, which included three consecutive SEC road wins for the first time in program history.
• The Commodores were 5-3 in SEC play, winning five SEC games for the first time since 1935, and posted two shutouts for the first time since 1968.
• Franklin was among five finalists for the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year award in 2012.
• Stacy became the first player in Vanderbilt history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, gaining 1,141 yards to finish with a school-record 3,143 yards and 30 rushing touchdowns.
• Wide receiver Jordan Matthews broke the Vanderbilt season receiving record with 1,363 yards on 94 catches.
• Vanderbilt continued its historic rise under Franklin during the 2013 season, capping a school-record second consecutive 9-4 campaign with a 41-24 win over Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
• The Commodores defeated Florida, Georgia and Tennessee in the same season for the first time in program history, winning in Gainesville and Knoxville.
• Franklin helped Matthews develop into a two-time All-American and the SEC's career leader in receptions (262) and receiving yardage (3,759). Matthews broke the SEC season record with 112 receptions for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, becoming the first SEC receiver to make 100 catches in a season.
RISING UP THE RANKS
• Franklin began his coaching career as the wide receivers coach at Kutztown (Pa.) University (1995) and was a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater, East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University in 1996, working with the secondary.
• He then was the wide receivers coach at James Madison (1997), a graduate assistant (tight ends) at Washington State in 1998 and the wide receivers coach at Idaho State (1999).
• In 2000, Franklin was named the wide receivers coach at Maryland under head coach Ron Vanderlinden, who would go on to coach the Penn State linebackers from 2001-13.
• Franklin continued in that role under new head coach Ralph Friedgen in 2002 and '03 and helped the Terps to three consecutive 10-win seasons, including an appearance in the 2002 FedEx Orange Bowl. In 2003, Franklin added duties as recruiting coordinator and directed back-to-back recruiting classes ranked in the Top 25 nationally. Franklin and former Nittany Lion head coach Bill O'Brien (running backs) were Maryland assistant coaches in 2003 and '04 under Friedgen.
• After five successful years at Maryland, Franklin was named wide receivers coach on Mike Sherman's Green Bay Packers staff in 2005. During that season, Green Bay ranked third in the NFL in receptions (383) and seventh in receiving yards (3,766). Donald Driver was among the top receivers in the NFL, ranking second in receptions and eighth in receiving yards, with a then-career-high 86 catches for 1,221 yards.
• Franklin served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Kansas State during the 2006-07 seasons under head coach Ron Prince. In 2006, he helped the Wildcats to their first winning season in four years. Franklin coached quarterback Josh Freeman and oversaw an offense that produced a 3,000-yard passer (Freeman), 1,500-yard receiver (All-American wide receiver Jordy Nelson) and 1,000-yard rusher (James Johnson) during the 2007 season, a first in school history. Freeman would go on to become the Wildcats' highest NFL offensive draft pick since 1954 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him 17th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.
• Franklin returned to Maryland in 2008 as the Terps' assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He helped the Terrapins to victories in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl and the 2010 Military Bowl. The 2010 squad was among the national leaders in scoring offense at 32.2 points per game and was led by ACC Rookie of the Year quarterback Danny O'Brien. He threw for 2,438 yards, 22 touchdowns and only eight interceptions in 2010, with All-ACC receiver Torrey Smith making 67 catches for 1,055 yards and 12 scores.
• In 1998, Franklin began his participation in the NFL's Minority Coaching Fellowship Program, starting with a stint with the Miami Dolphins and working with Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. Franklin also worked with Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles (1999) and Minnesota Vikings (2008) in the NFL program.
• Franklin was a four-year letterman at quarterback and a two-time All-PSAC selection at East Stroudsburg.
• He set seven school records as a senior to earn team MVP honors and was a Harlon Hill Trophy nominee as the NCAA Division II Player of the Year.
• Among the season records he set were for total offense (3,128 yards), passing yards (2,586) and touchdown passes (19).
• Franklin graduated having broken or tied 23 school records.
• Franklin graduated from East Stroudsburg in 1995 with a degree in psychology and earned a master's degree in educational leadership from Washington State University.
• Franklin graduated from Neshaminy High School in Langhorne.
• Franklin and his wife, Fumi, have two daughters, Shola and Addison.
James Franklin Coaching Timeline
2014-current - Penn State (head coach)
2011-13 - Vanderbilt (head coach)
2008-10 - Maryland (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2006-07 - Kansas State (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2005 - Green Bay Packers (wide receivers)
2000-04 - Maryland (wide receivers/recruiting coordinator)
1999 - Idaho State (wide receivers)
1998 - Washington State (graduate assistant/tight Ends)
1997 - James Madison (wide receivers)
1996 - East Stroudsburg (graduate assistant/secondary)
1995 - Kutztown University (wide receivers)
The James Franklin Record
|2011||Vanderbilt||6-7||Liberty: Lost to Cincinnati, 31-24|
|2012||Vanderbilt||9-4||Music City: Beat North Carolina State, 38-24|
|2013||Vanderbilt||9-4||BBVA Compass: Beat Houston, 41-24|
|2014||Penn State||7-6||New Era Pinstripe: Beat Boston College, 31-30 (OT)|
|2015||Penn State||7-6||TaxSlayer Bowl: Lost to Georgia, 24-17|
|Career Record: 38-27||Bowls Record: Won 3, Lost 2|
What They're Saying...
"James is a tremendous worker and a tremendous recruiter. He is just a great person. He will represent the University with all kinds of pride and respect. What an addition he will be to a great University in Penn State."
- Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach
"He was an outstanding player, has been an outstanding coach and I think he will do an outstanding job at Penn State. It will be exciting to watch him take on this new challenge and meet it with the enthusiasm and passion that he always does. James is the type of individual who has a great passion for the game of football. He has goals and aspirations. He is enthusiastic and has an outstanding work ethic. He applied those attributes as a player and has applied them to his coaching and that is why he has been able to have so much success everywhere he has been. He is an outstanding communicator and that parlays into being a great recruiter. He was one of the nation's top recruiters when he was at Maryland, continued that at Vanderbilt and will surely bring that to Penn State. He will bring as much enthusiasm and passion for Penn State as the fan base does."
- Denny Douds - East Stroudsburg Head Coach
"Over a period of 17 years, I have admired the ability of Coach Franklin to connect respectfully with his players, their families and university stakeholders. Congratulations to Penn State for hiring a terrific football coach and man of excellent character, who will also be an effective ambassador for the entire University."
- Debbie Yow, former Maryland Athletics Director
"First, let me take this time to congratulate my good friend, James Franklin, on becoming the new head coach at Penn State. It was an honor to have him as a coach. He brings out the passion and the love for the game in everyone. He is a leader, he knows how to win, and he brings a relentless work ethic. He is a tremendous motivator on and off the field. I know he'll do an amazing job and be an asset to the Penn State campus, community and football program. Good Luck coach Franklin."
- Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver
"Coach Franklin has a lot of energy, a lot of passion for the game, and obviously knew what he was doing. He cared about his players and was a great family guy. He was intense, but yet had fun and like I said, he had his passion for the game, his love for the game and a love for his players, and he cares about his players like family."
- Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver, Kansas State University (`09) Wide Receiver
"Coach has meant so much to me, both on and off the field. One of the best things that ever happened to me was getting to work with Coach Franklin. I was very raw, and needed development in really every area. Coach taught me proper footwork, how to better understand pass routes and schemes, just how to play the position. Truly, to this day, my fundamental foundation as a quarterback came from the time with him."
- Josh Freeman, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback; former Kansas State Quarterback
"James Franklin is a proven commodity as a head coach with all his accomplishments at Vanderbilt. His leadership, integrity and competitive spirit make him a perfect fit for Penn State."
- Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN/ABC Analyst
"I am pleased with the selection of James Franklin as Penn State's next head football coach and I appreciate the committee's rapid response to filling the coaching position. He was obviously thoroughly vetted and researched, and I know the committee determined he was a good fit for our football program and for our University. Understanding the excitement of our student athletes and student body, we look forward to Penn State's bright future."
- Keith Masser, Penn State Board of Trustees Chairperson
"I've had the chance to work closely with Coach Franklin and I can't say enough good things about his approach, his work ethic, his passion for the game and his ability to teach the game. He's a tireless recruiter and one of those coaches who can get the most out of his players and is excellent at making and maintaining relationships."
- Darrell Bevell, Offensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks
"Franklin won't be intimidated. He stared down the best in the nation at Vanderbilt, so there's nothing he'll encounter at Penn State that will make him flinch."
- Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer
"James is a great coach, a great leader and tireless worker. His players play tough, but they are old-school and disciplined. He brings new approaches to the field for the players and offenses, and he is an innovator and a cutting-edge type of coach. You would love to have that type of guy be your son. He is a wonderful person with great character and great integrity. He is a wonderful husband and a wonderful father. He's a great friend, who never forgets where he came from, and his friends. He's just a wonderful human being."
- Mike Price, UTEP Head Football Coach/Former Washington State Head Coach
"James Franklin worked for me at the Green Bay Packers. I noticed early on that he always saw the big picture. He didn't just coach his players on the field, but saw the need for them to be accountable off the field as well. He took an interest in every aspect of their lives and coached not just the player, but the person."
- Mike Sherman, former Green Bay Packers and Texas A&M Head Coach
"Coach Franklin has earned the opportunity to be a leader at a program like Penn State. I had a greater appreciation for him after I left (Maryland). He wants you to be the best you can be as a student and a player and brought a family environment. He is very passionate about what he does and has all the tools to be successful.
- Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens Wide Receiver/Maryland (`10) Wide Receiver
"Coach Franklin and is a great person and a great coach. I am happy that he has the opportunity to take what is probably one of his dream jobs, being from Pennsylvania, and I am happy for his family. He transformed the program and my career during my time at Vanderbilt. He took us from the bottom of the SEC to the upper tier of college football's toughest conference and a national contender. It was amazing to see what he was able to do at Vanderbilt and I am sure he will do the same at Penn State. For him, there is only one goal in mind; a National Championship. I feel like he has the right mindset as a coach, can put the right coaches around him and with the student-athletes, resources and fan base at Penn State, I know he will do a tremendous job."
- Casey Heyward - Green Bay Packers Cornerback/Vanderbilt ('12) Cornerback
"I got to know James when he was at Kansas State and I enjoyed being around him a great deal. I think he is a quality person and is a very fine football coach. I liked his integrity and the way he carried himself. He is a coach that does things the right way and treats people with respect. He truly cares about the student-athletes that he coaches and he is a guy that seems to get along with everyone he interacts with."
- Bill Snyder, Kansas State Head Coach
"From the day he stepped on Vanderbilt's campus, Coach Franklin changed the atmosphere around the football program. He did a tremendous job instilling confidence in the players and the fan base, as a whole. He's a great motivator. He is a young, energetic players' coach. And he is always confident in everything he does."
- Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams Running Back/ Vanderbilt (`12) Running Back