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Does Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin Deserve a New Gig?

Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterNovember 11, 2013

The coaching carousel started spinning early this season when USC fired former head coach Lane Kiffin in September. 

One name that has been mentioned prominently for that job, according to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, as well as several others over the last few seasons, is Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin

The third-year coach of the Commodores has led the program to two straight bowl games, has posted a 5-4 record this season and is fresh off of a 34-17 shellacking of the Florida Gators in Gainesville—the first victory for the program in the Swamp since 1945.

Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.

The program averaged less than 20 points per game in each of the two seasons before he got to Nashville and has averaged more than 26 points per game in each of his three seasons at the helm.

Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.

After routinely chiming in ranked in the high 40s or low 50s in the recruiting rankings, Franklin hauled in the nation's No. 26 class in 2013 and is currently ranked No. 24 for the class of 2014, according to

Is it time for Franklin to move on and take the next step?

He only makes $1,842,771 per season, according to the recently updated USA Today coaches' salary database, although that number likely doesn't include bonus figures and other income that Vandy—as a private institution—doesn't have to release.

He received a raise and an extension last December, according to Edward Aschoff of That extension will keep him at Vandy for "a number of years," according to athletic director David Williams.

But he certainly can make a move if a big offer comes along. So when does Franklin make the jump?

He likely isn't USC's first choice for the job. Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin is, according to the Daily News. That's important, because Franklin seems content winning at Vanderbilt and waiting for "the big one."

Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin (right).
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin (right).

He's essentially Will Muschamp when he was Texas' defensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting. He passed on several opportunities to take "the big one" when it opened, and it did when former Florida head coach Urban Meyer retired following the 2010 season.

There's no doubt, building Vanderbilt—Vanderbilt—to a perennial bowl team has elevated Franklin to near-elite status and absolutely has earned him serious looks from athletic directors looking to make a splash during coaching searches.

But Franklin isn't in a position to turn down jobs; he's in a position to pick and choose.

He's earned a new gig. The only question is, how big of a gig will it be?

If he keeps this up, it will be a destination job at a high-profile program with all the resources to win big. Franklin at USC or a program similar to USC would be a scary thought.


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