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Penn State makes it official, hiring James Franklin

Vanderbilt coach hired to coach Nittany Lions Aaron Wilson

Print This January 11, 2014, 10:53 AM EST

It's official: James Franklin is now the head football coach at Penn State.

The former Vanderbilt coach's six-year, $4.5 million per year contract was approved by the Board of Trustees today unanimously.

A former Division II All-American quarterback at East Stroudsburg who grew up in Bucks County, Pa., Franklin won 24 games in the past three seasons at Vanderbilt.

Franklin, 43, is the 16th head football coach in Penn State history.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to come home," Franklin said in a statement. "I grew up watching Penn State football and now to be at the helm of such a storied program is a tremendous honor. It's important to me to be a part of a University that strives for excellence in everything they do. When football student-athletes come to Penn State, they have a unique opportunity to receive a premium education while playing at the highest level of competition.

"I'm incredibly excited to get to know the students, alumni, and fans who have demonstrated such loyalty to the University as a whole and to the football program in particular. I've worked my way through every division of football and no other school boasts a fan base like we do. We Are...Penn State!!"

Franklin coached previously at Maryland, Washington State, James Madison, Idaho State, Kansas State and was a receivers coach with the Green Bay Packers.

Franklin was pursued by the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns, but opted to remain in the collegiate ranks.

"We launched this search with several priorities, but our primary focus was to identify someone who shared our commitment to integrity, academics and winning championships," Penn State Athletic Director Dave Joyner said in a statement. "We have found that person in James Franklin. Coach Franklin is a highly regarded coach and tremendous leader, but more importantly, he shares the same vision for Penn State Football that we, and our fans, have for the program. His record shows that he takes great pride in the academic and athletic success of his student-athletes. We're thrilled to welcome Coach Franklin to Penn State."

Added Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams: "There is no question that James Franklin's outstanding work has helped put Vanderbilt football on the national stage. We are extremely sorry to see the Franklin family leave our university and community, and we thank them and wish them the very best."

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