It's Official: Franklin in at Penn State

The former Vanderbilt coach and Pennsylvania native is the 16th head coach in the history of the Nittany Lion program. The announcement came Saturday morning.

Penn State officially has its new head football coach.

Saturday morning, after the compensation committee of the school's Board of Trustees approved James Franklin's contract in a three-minute conference call, the Pennsylvania native and now former Vanderbilt coach was announced as the 16th head coach in the history of the Nittany Lion program.

“I can't tell you how excited I am to come home,” Franklin said in a statement released by PSU. “I grew up watching Penn State football and now to be at the helm of such a storied program is a tremendous honor. It's important to me to be a part of a university that strives for excellence in everything they do. When football student-athletes come to Penn State, they have a unique opportunity to receive a premium education while playing at the highest level of competition.

“I'm incredibly excited to get to know the students, alumni and fans who have demonstrated such loyalty to the university as a whole and to the football program in particular,” Franklin added. “I've worked my way through every division of football and no other school boasts a fan base like we do. We Are ... Penn State!”

Franklin, 41, is a native of Langhorne, Pa., and played collegiately at East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University. He led Vanderbilt, a perennial SEC doormat, to a 24-15 record the past three seasons. The Commodores were 9-4 in each of the last two seasons and won bowl games both years.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson and athletic director Dave Joyner announced the hire.

“Dr. Joyner and I have stressed that our No. 1 priority in hiring a new coach was to hire an outstanding leader for our football program, one who will continue our long tradition of student-athlete success on the field and in the classroom,” Erickson said. “We have achieved that goal. On behalf of the university and the entire Nittany Lion Nation, I am proud to welcome James Franklin as Penn State's 16th head football coach.

“Coach Franklin's record of success is extraordinary, but even more impressive is his passion for not only the game of football, but also creating an atmosphere in which student-athletes can succeed. His character, work ethic, values and knowledge of the game make him an outstanding fit for our program and to lead our student-athletes.”

Added Joyner: “We launched this search with several priorities, but our primary focus was to identify someone who shared our commitment to integrity, academics and winning championships. We have found that person in James Franklin. Coach Franklin is a highly regarded coach and tremendous leader, but more importantly, he shares the same vision for Penn State football that we, and our fans, have for the program. His record shows that he takes great pride in the academic and athletic success of his student-athletes. We're thrilled to welcome Coach Franklin to Penn State.”

Franklin will hold a press conference at Beaver Stadium at 4:15 p.m. Saturday.

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