Former Maryland OC and current Vanderbilt coach James Franklin to WNST and Terps Nation: I didn’t want to walk away”

December 22, 2010 | Ryan Chell

James Franklin
Former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin meant a lot to the University of Maryland, especially this year in the Terps’  8-4 campaign helping springboard his coach in Ralph Friedgen to ACC Coach of the Year and his quarterback Danny O’Brien to ACC Rookie of the Year for 2010.

His work this season was also enough to garner attention on the national stage, as Franklin-at one point named the coach-in-waiting at College Park-was hired as the Vanderbilt Head Coach last week, the 27th man to do so in the Commodores history.

Franklin joined Thyrl Nelson and Glenn Clark on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” as an opportunity to not only wish the best for the fans cheering him on in Maryland, but to explain how hard his decision to leave an organization he has been a part of for so long in Maryland to take the head coaching position at Vanderbilt.

“I wanted an opportunity to be a head coach and I wanted to have an opportunity to do it at a great school with a great history, great tradition, and one that was in the best conferences in America,” Franklin told Nelson and Clark. “I really had narrowed it down to specific schools, but when I got the call and got a chance to talk to the people here-and in my mind that’s what it’s all about anywhere-it’s about the people.”

The school was won over by Franklin’s interview-he used the same skills in recruiting players to execute Ralph Friedgen’s offense to impress Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics David Williams II.

“The hiring of Coach Franklin represents a new day for Vanderbilt football,” Zeppos said in a press release. “He has my full support and commitment that we will help him create an environment where the successes on the field equal the university’s extraordinary successes off the field. Coach Franklin will have an immediate and positive impact on our students, alumni, faculty, staff and broader Vanderbilt community, and I welcome him to Vanderbilt.”

Ultimately though, Franklin admitted that the school won him over from the spot more than some other high-profile jobs out there that Franklin could have had.

“When I got a chance to sit down and talk to the Chancellor…and he was totally committed to winning at the highest level here.”

I just saw a tremendous commitment to excellence in everything we do, and it was an unbelievable opportunity,” he said. ” To me, it’s not about looking around country and say what jobs would I like, it came down to the people that are on those campuses and the opportunities presented to you.”

Vanderbilt will look to the offensive-minded Franklin to turn around a Commodores team that finished 2-10, and 1-7 in the tough SEC conference.

The school was looking to find a candidate who could supplant themselves as an institution at Vanderbilt-one that could bring stability to a struggling program.

“They’ve been so supportive, and they understand where we’re at, and I think after us sitting down and talking, they know where were going. They’re in this for the long haul, and they want to do this the right way. They want to build something that’s going to be built to last. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

“And they’ve been committed to that from the first time I’ve talked to them. But we have to keep improving, just like we did at Maryland this year. We got better every single game throughout the season, and if we do that, we’ll take that same approach here at Vanderbilt.”

In July, Bobby Johnson stepped down as coach of the program after 8 seasons on the Commodore sidelines, but he finished with a 29-66 record during his time in Nashville. Robbie Caldwell took over for Johnson and led the team this year with the interim title attached to his name, and he resigned after the season was completed.

Franklin-who is the school’s first ever minority candidate-brings with him an impressive resume to the SEC school. Franklin, 38, has been in the coaching ranks since 1995 both at the college and professional levels.

His first big stop at the college level came in 1998 when the was a graduate assistant to Mike Price at Washington State, followed by a stop at Idaho State as their receivers coach the following season.

He came to College Park in 2000 and a little less than a season in, the Terps head coach at the time-Ron Vanderlinden -was relieved of his duties and replaced by(continued…)

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