New football coach James Franklin was the featured speaker on the first stop of Penn State's promotional Coaches Caravan at the Pegula Ice Arena on campus Thursday.
Though he spoke from the frozen surface of the arena floor, Franklin wasted little time warming the hearts of the 450 or so Nittany Lion fans in attendance.
After opening with a few funny lines, Franklin unexpectedly turned serious. And the arena went from buzzing to nearly silent as he began to cry while talking.
I can't express to you how excited we are about being here and how proud, Franklin said. For a lot of people
Excuse me, he said after a pause, trying to gather himself.
For a lot of people, this is a job, he continued, his voice cracking. And for a lot of people, this is a career. This is personal to me. For a guy growing up in the state of Pennsylvania
As he paused to gather himself again, the crowd broke into a supportive ovation. Franklin unbuttoned his jacked, blinked multiple times to clear the tears from his eyes, adjusted his glasses to pass a bit more time and then continued.
For a guy growing up in the state of Pennsylvania to come back and be the head football coach at Penn State, is unbelievably special, he said. And, um, you know
Another pause. Then.
Just 'cause I'm getting emotional, don't think we're gonna play soft, he said. We're not.
The crowd broke into laughter. And the show went on.
You can see Franklin's speech above.