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James Franklin, Penn State Agree to 6-Year Contract Extension Amid FSU Rumors

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2019

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 30: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on before the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Beaver Stadium on November 30, 2019 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Penn State University announced Friday that it came to terms on a new, six-year contract with head football coach James Franklin.

Franklin, who will be under contract through 2025, said the following about committing long-term to the Nittany Lions program:

"It's not often a coach gets an opportunity to move back to their home state and coach the team they grew up watching. It's even more rare that it's a school as rich in history and tradition as Penn State. It's been an honor and privilege to be the head coach of the Penn State Football program for the last six years.
 
"It's gratifying to work at a university where the administration cares as much about what happens in the classroom and community as it does about wins and losses. I love Penn State, our players and our dedicated coaches and staff."

Franklin had previously been linked to the open head coaching position at Florida State. He addressed those rumors in a response to Candace Martino of WJACTV: "Like I told you, I love Penn State, I love our players. I don't see that changing anytime soon."

Franklin is in the midst of his sixth season at Penn State, and after leading the Nittany Lions to a 10-2 record, they have a strong chance to play in a New Year's Six Bowl.

The 47-year-old Franklin is a Langhorne, Pennsylvania, native who played quarterback at East Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Despite his Keystone State ties, there was some thought that Franklin was interested in another opportunity.

Florida State is in the midst of a head coaching search after firing Willie Taggart, and according to Wayne McGahee III of the Tallahassee Democrat, Franklin was considered a candidate along with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and Memphis head coach Mike Norvell.

Instead, Franklin will look to continue building on the success Penn State has enjoyed since he left Vanderbilt to join the program in 2014.

After going 7-6 in each of his first two seasons at Penn State, Franklin has won at least nine games in each of the past four campaigns, including 11-win seasons in both 2016 and 2017. Most notably, Franklin led Penn State to a Fiesta Bowl win in 2017.

The Nittany Lions have yet to qualify for the College Football Playoff under Franklin, and losses to Ohio State and Minnesota kept them out again this year, but they have consistently been contenders in the Big Ten with Franklin at the helm.

His record of 55-23 is the fourth-best in school history in terms of winning percentage (.705) and the second-best among coaches who lasted at least six seasons behind only Joe Paterno (.749).

The next step for Penn State is winning the Big Ten Championship Game and reaching the CFP, and based on the progress the program has made in recent years, it figures to be in contention for both next season.

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