Vandy AD: "We're prepared to do what we need to do to keep James Franklin"
One of the more consistent names that we've heard brought up when coaching vacancies have been talked about over the past two off seasons is Vanderbilt's James Franklin. Coach Franklin and his staff have led the Commodores to back to back bowl eligible seasons for the first time in school history, and athletic director David Williams wants to make it clear that they're going to do everything they can to keep Franklin in Nashville.
“Whether it is an extension, whether it is changing terms, whether it is ripping [the contract] up and giving a new one, we’re prepared to do what we need to do for James Franklin to be the football coach. James and I meet every week, including this morning, and I think we’re both on the same page that we expect next year when we kick off in the opening game against Mississippi that James Franklin will still be at the helm of Vanderbilt football. I have every expectation of that.” Williams told the Nashville City Paper earlier this week.
“I think he has had a great season, and it’s not over. In my 13 years we’ve been eligible for bowls three times. This is the first time in my 13 years that we’ve been bowl-eligible with still two games to play."
Franklin earned a contract extension after last season's 6-6 regular season finish, and Vanderbilt has also shown that they're serious by recently breaking ground on a new indoor practice facility that they'll be able to use next October.
“I can’t predict what happens five, 10 years from now but I think James likes it here. He’s had success here. We certainly like having James here. I think we’re working on changing a lot of things as it relates to how football has been approached at Vanderbilt." Williams explained. "As long as we can continue to do that we don’t really have to worry about looking for something else.
“As James tells the kids, what can you ask for? You get to play in the SEC, you get to live in one of the best cities in the United States and you’re with one of the greatest universities in the world. Why would you leave?”
Given the high profile success that Franklin has had over in such a short period of time, it makes sense that many athletic directors want him leading their football programs, and we're confident that at least a few administrators have reached out to gauge his interest in leaving Nashville. But Williams has a good point...you're coaching in the greatest football conference in the country, live in one of the best cities in the nation, and get to sell one of the top educations in the world to recruits.
With all of that said, don't expect Franklin's name to get quieter as jobs open up. Him and his staff are doing a tremendous job and have a promising future.