Penn State has always been one of those teams I never paid much attention to since they never face Baylor in the regular season. This year however, I discovered Saquon Barkley and have recently become a fan of head coach James Franklin. After the tumultuous years of sexual abuse and scandal, it’s refreshing to see such honesty and character from Franklin on a daily basis. Author’s note: my last coach post was about Matt Campbell and since then, Iowa State has won every single game…now testing if the same happens with Penn State and if so, I am a wizard lucky charm.
Franklin was a QB at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania where he set seven school records and was nominated for Division II player of the year in 1994. After his collegiate career, Franklin began coaching WRs at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 1995. The next year, he returned to his alma mater to coach the DBs and was named OC for the Danish American Football Federation’s Roskilde Kings. In 1997, Franklin coached the WRs at James Madison before taking over the TEs at Washington State in 1998. He moved back to WRs at Idaho State in 1999 as the Bengals recorded one of the school’s most successful statistical seasons in history. He served as WRs coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Maryland from 2000-2004 before making his NFL coaching debut with the Green Bay Packers’ WRs. During his time as QBs coach and OC for Kansas State from 2006-2007, Franklin mentored many star athletes including future Packers star Jordy Nelson. From 2008-2010, Franklin returned to Maryland as assistant head coach, OC and QBs coach. He was named head coach at Vanderbilt University in 2011 where he led the team to a program-record three consecutive bowl games. In 2014, Franklin was appointed head coach at Penn State, where he still resides today. After just two seasons, Franklin led the Nittany Lions to a Big 10 East Division victory and ultimately the Big 10 championship. In 2016, Franklin was named Woody Hayes Coach of the Year, Dave McClain Coach of the Year and Sporting News Coach of the Year. He boasts a 56-31 head coaching record and 3-3 in bowl games. Franklin is currently playing a Heisman candidate in RB Saquon Barkley and should continue to see his program succeed!