Skip to main content
Publish date:

As LSU, USC & others seek coaches, James Franklin indicates he's staying at Penn State

Nearing completion of his 8th season at Penn State, Franklin is poised for an even longer commitment to the Nittany Lions.
Author:

James Franklin is closing in on 70 career wins atop the Penn State Nittany Lions football program.

The school's eighth-year head coach also is working to finalize an extension that includes more money and years to remain atop the storied Big Ten program.

Multiple college coaches this week told FootballScoop that PSU officials wished to lock up Franklin with the Nittany Lions through a reworked contract.

On the heels of his team's dominant, 28-0 shutout-win Saturday against visiting Rutgers, Franklin appeared to allude to am impending new deal.

Earlier this week, Franklin had spoken to the State College Quarterback Club, and he allegedly had emphasized during that appearance that he intended to remain atop the Penn State program.


“I made that statement because I thought something was going to happen a little bit sooner,” Franklin said. “Tuesday, we can talk about that as much as you guys want to talk about that. I'd like to talk about Rutgers (in his post-game press conference). I get it, I understand the question.

“Like I've tried to tell you guys before, these things are much more complicated than just simple yes and no answers. And with me, I'm just always trying to be as transparent as possible and tell you guys what I know. When I say something, it's going to happen. If we can wait till Tuesday, I'd appreciate. But I also understand the question.”

Franklin, who switched representation earlier this year from Trace Armstrong and Athletes First to college football titan Jimmy Sexton of CAA, last agreed to an extended, six-year pact with Penn State in late-February 2020.

Per public records, that deal pushed Franklin's annual salary to an average of more than $6 million per year through the 2025 season.

Franklin is scheduled to pick up a $500,000 retention bonus on December 31. The additional incentives built into Franklin's current pact, including items such as multiple retention bonuses, can lift Franklin's deal to a value of nearly $7 million per season – a number that ranks 10th nationally per the USA Today Coaches Salary Database.

After taking Vanderbilt to unprecedented modern success for that program in his first-ever stint as a head coach, Franklin was hired at Penn State to replace Bill O'Brien after O'Brien left for the NFL in early 2014.

With a 91-47 career mark at a pair of schools that provided separate but substantial challenges, Franklin still punched a bowl ticket in his first nine seasons as a head coach and has positioned the Nittany Lions to make it 10 out of 11 seasons at the end of this year.

That success had prompted Franklin to be viewed as a potentially prime target at a pair of Power 5 programs with current openings: LSU and USC.