James Franklin continues to make history at Vanderbilt. He’s led the Commodores to back-to-back bowl games in 2012 for the first time in program history, and the team has won five SEC games in one season for the first time since 1935. Endless speculation still abounds whether or not other schools approached Franklin inquiring about his interest in leaving the Commodores’ program for greener pastures, but Vandy ended all the speculation yesterday with the extension, as reported by the Tennessean.
And with so much uncertainty surrounding college football, it’s no wonder that some coaches are choosing to stay put in their current jobs. Most of the uncertainty, however, extends outside of the 14-team SEC. It’s not that Vanderbilt isn’t a destination job for Franklin, it’s that Vandy has never been one for anyone before. But Franklin could sure change that, especially if he keeps the Dores on the same emerging track as they’ve been on recently.
Franklin’s contract extension includes more money, guarantees more facility upgrades and most likely ensures Franklin’s assistants will receive raises.
AD David Williams called Franklin’s extension a “long-term” contract that is well deserved, and he speculated it would keep Franklin at Vandy for a number of years.
Talking heads suspect that Franklin was approached by Arkansas, Tennessee and NC State over the last few weeks.
Is it a big deal that Franklin stays at Vanderbilt? You bet it is. He’s one of the fastest rising head coaches in the country, and it shows he’s not just willing to jump for any job that may be perceived ‘better’ than the Vanderbilt job. We’ll find out whether he’s committed to just Vanderbilt’s program long term, but it’s certainly a solid showing at the moment.
“James has been a tremendous success here and by any right he does deserve a raise anyway,” AD David Williams said. “We’ve tried to put him in a position where he and his family will be very, very happy and very comfortable here in Nashville, and I think that’s the case.”
The extension shows that both sides are extremely dedicated to winning and building a program, and furthermore, it shows that Vanderbilt is committed to spending more money and being relevant in the SEC. What’s not to like about that?
Often times, Franklin is quoted on Twitter using the #VanderBuild hashtag. He wants to build a program, not just use it as a stepping stone to get to a better job. We’ve talked about Franklin’s building of the Vanderbilt brand and what it means to the school and the program, making them relevant in the SEC. I say this all the time – coaches can change the perception of their program with players they inherit, but it usually takes different players to change the culture of a program entirely. Franklin is doing that with largely the same players he inherited. It’s a credit to him, his staff and the players who have bought into his method of making Vandy a winner.
Vanderbilt goes for its ninth win in the Music City Bowl against NC State on December 31st.
Photo credit: Don McPeak-US Presswire