Why did Penn State pick James Franklin?

Why did Penn State pick James Franklin?
January 11, 2014, 12:00 pm
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Vinnie Duber

Penn State will introduce new head coach James Franklin at a 3:15 p.m. press conference Saturday, but athletics director Dave Joyner gave a sneak peak into the reasons the Lions settled on their new head coach.

Joyner joined the Big Ten Network during the broadcast of Penn State's Saturday-afternoon basketball game against Indiana and shared some of the reasons why Franklin was picked.

"Coach Franklin comes from a background of paying attention to the details that we pay attention to here at Penn State: integrity, academics and championships," Joyner said. "And we felt that we had some great people looking at this position, but coach Franklin, his ability to win in very, very difficult situations, his ability to improve the academics at a great academic institution for their football team was an unbelievable testament to him. His character, his strength and how he deals with situations in life were all very apparent that he was an outstanding, outstanding candidate."

[MORE: Penn State officially hires James Franklin as next head coach]

Joyner was asked just how much importance was placed on the fact that Franklin is a Pennsylvania native. Franklin is from the Philadelphia suburb of Langhorne, Pa., and got his coaching career started at Pennsylvania's Kutztown University.

"A lot of importance. I think he knows Pennsylvania, he wants to be back in Pennsylvania, he's got very deep-seeded roots in in Pennsylvania, both in friends and family," Joyner said. "And so we were looking for someone who really had a long-term investment in Penn State. I believe Bill O'Brien did, too, just things happened the way they happen sometimes, so nothing against Bill. But we wanted, as we did with Bill, to look for someone who had a very deep-rooted interest in Pennsylvania and Penn State."

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Joyner also talked about Franklin's ability to bring student-athletes and entire university community together, citing the thousands who turned out to see Franklin off at Vanderbilt. It's what Franklin did there, taking the Commodores to three straight bowl games and giving the program relevance in the SEC, that earned him the job at Penn State.

"We want someone who can win national and Big Ten championships, who'll be a contender every year," Joyner said. "What he did at Vanderbilt is nothing short of remarkable. So he's coming in with a very, very good base here, and we feel he's got a great framework to do some wonderful things at Penn State."