Penn State Makes Vanderbilt’s Franklin New Football Coach

James Franklin was chosen as Penn State University’s next football coach, filling the void created by Bill O’Brien’s departure for the Houston Texans of the National Football League.

Franklin, 41, takes over a Nittany Lions team that went 7-5 in its second season since the National Collegiate Athletic Association imposed unprecedented sanctions on the program in the aftermath of the child sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky. The punishment included a $60 million fine and a four-year ban on postseason games.

The first African-American head coach in Penn State history, Franklin spent the last three seasons in the same role at Vanderbilt University, reviving a program that had just 13 Southeastern Conference wins in the 10 years prior to his arrival. Under Franklin, the Commodores went 24-15 with 11 SEC victories, and bowl wins in each of the past two seasons.

O’Brien was hired in January 2012 after the university fired Joe Paterno, ending a 46-year run during which the team won two national championships. The Nittany Lions were 8-4 in O’Brien’s first year and 7-5 last season, when the NCAA returned five of the scholarships it stripped during the sanctions.

Franklin is a native of the Philadelphia suburb of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the state’s East Stroudsburg University in 1995. Prior to taking the Vanderbilt job, he was an assistant at Maryland and Kansas State.

Penn State also considered University of Miami coach Al Golden and former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak, both ex-Nittany Lions players, according to CBS Sports. San Francisco 49ers assistant Greg Roman also interviewed for the position, CBS said.

The university posted the announcement on its website.

-- Editors: Rob Gloster, Joe Sabo

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