Penn State has its man, according to a report.
CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman is reporting that James Franklin will become the new head coach of the Nittany Lions.
Franklin posted a 24-15 record in three seasons at Vanderbilt, considered one of the SEC's weaker programs and certainly in that category before Franklin arrived. But he made thew school relevant, taking the Commodores to three bowl games, including postseason wins in the past two seasons. Prior to his tenure, Vanderbilt had appeared in only four bowl games since 1902. Prior to taking over at Vanderbilt, Franklin coached as the offensive coordinator at both Maryland — the Terps become a member of the Big Ten starting next season — and Kansas State.
Penn State needed a new head coach following the resignation of Bill O'Brien, who had terrific success in only two seasons in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that included the firing of Joe Paterno. O'Brien left Penn State to take over as the head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans. At a recent press conference, athletics director Dave Joyner said he expected the search for a new head coach to take days, not weeks.
A native of Langhorne, Pa., Franklin's Pennsylvania roots could help with home-state recruiting. Those ties weren't as strong as several of the other candidates reportedly interviewed by Penn State, including Miami's Al Golden and former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, who both played for the Lions under Paterno. Penn State also interviewed San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, according to reports.
After nearly half a century under Paterno's leadership, Penn State has seen great instability at the head-coaching position since his firing. Including Paterno's final season in 2010, Franklin would mark the fourth head coach in five seasons at Penn State.