Reports: Franklin expected to be PSU’s next football coach

(Editor’s note: This story includes background material from a previous report.)

ALTOONA – Penn State’s new football coach is expected to be James Franklin, according to media reports this afternoon, although there has been no confirmation or announcement from the school or the coach, according to reports in the Altoona Mirror.

ESPN and both are reporting that a deal with Franklin is expected to be finalized today.

Franklin has been one of the hottest college coaching names around this offseason and has been linked as a possible candidate at Texas and for the NFL with the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns.

The 41-year-old coach has been widely praised for doing terrific work the past three years at Vanderbilt, which has long been an afterthought in college football.

The Commodores went 9-4 last season and again this year, and they won both of their bowl games. The school had only two bowl wins in its 123-year history prior to Franklin’s arrival.

Franklin, who will succeed Bill O’Brien, is a native of Langhorne. His co-defensive coordinator, Brent Pry, is an Altoona native and is expected to be on Franklin’s staff at PSU.

Franklin is considered to be one of the hottest names for college jobs.

Altoona native Jim Pry served as offensive coordinator when Franklin was the starting quarterback at East Stroudsburg in the early 1990s. And his son, Brent, is now Franklin’s assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt.

“He’d be a great fit (at Penn State),” Jim Pry said Monday night by phone.

“Probably the biggest character thing that James has working for him right now is he’s a players’ coach. Players love him. They love to play for him, they get fired up for him. He can fuel that fire better than a lot of people in the country right now.

“Penn State would be very fortunate to get a shot at him,” Pry said.

Franklin just completed his third season as head coach at Vanderbilt. For a coach to lead a program like Vanderbilt to a winning record over two seasons in the nation’s toughest conference speaks volumes of Franklin’s abilities.

Franklin previously served as offensive coordinator at Maryland and Kansas State, plus was the receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers in 2005.