THE RIGHT BROTHER: James Franklin has turned Vanderbilt around in the toughest conference in America and could have did the same if hired by USC as it’s next head football coach, but the Trojans never offered him the job. Associated Press Photo
Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian will be the next USC football coach, but Athletic Director Pat Haden blew a golden opportunity to make a bold hire.
Haden has already interviewed Denver Broncos interim head coach Jack Del Rio, a USC alum, in November and he’s lost on Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin who signed a contract extension.
Rumors circulated immediately after USC’s loss to UCLA at the Coliseum that Ed Orgeron would not be retained as head coach and that emerging candidates for the post pointed to Kris Petersen of Boise State and Franklin.
However, as of Monday Vanderbilt University reported that USC has not requested to speak to Franklin about the USC job.
USC has never had a Black head football coach and may never will, but they had a golden opportunity to hire one and the time was now and Franklin was the right choice.
If a Black coach can handle the climate of the SEC, then coaching at a prestigious private school such as USC is the next logical step.
Although Karl Dorrell did not work out for UCLA, neither did Rick Neuheisel, but David Shaw was been spectacular at Stanford which is the only Pac 12 school in the top 10 of the BCS rankings.
Franklin, 41, has led Vanderbilt to at least eight wins in back-to-back seasons. He has a 23-15 record in his three seasons with the Commodores.
The Pennsylvania native graduated from Washington State University (M.A., Educational Leadership, 1999)
is married to wife Fumi and the couple has two; daughters, Ava and Addison.
People may say he doesn’t know the region, but he didn’t know the region at Vanderbilt and not knowing a region is so overrated. Players will respect you no matter where you from.
In three short years Franklin has already taken the Commodores to heights not seen in decades, while completely changing the culture of the football program.
Armed with a tireless work ethic, contagious personality, strong leadership and an invigorating passion for his team, Franklin has guided Vanderbilt to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history, signed the highest-rated recruiting class in school history three years in a row, energized the Commodore fan base, and mentored a squad of student-athletes that collectively earned praise for their academic achievement.
Think Haden might like that?
Hired as the first African-American head coach in Vanderbilt gridiron history on Dec. 17, 2010, Franklin's off-the-field accomplishments have been outstanding, but the results on the field have simply been staggering.
In his initial season with Vanderbilt in 2011, Franklin became the only first-year coach in school history to guide the Commodores to a bowl game and surpassed the total wins achieved by the program in each of its previous two seasons. As an encore, all Franklin did in his second season was run circles around what he achieved in 2011 and more, much more.
He guided Vanderbilt to a 9-4 overall season, matching the school record for wins last achieved in 1915, and ending the season with the longest winning streak in the Southeastern Conference, having won seven straight. It was Vanderbilt's longest win streak since an eight-game streak in 1948.
His team at Vanderbilt excelled in all three phases of the game in 2012. On offense, the team scored 40-plus points on five occasions for the first time since 1915. The team's 30.0-point scoring offense was the highest of the modern era, and best by any Vanderbilt unit since World War I. The defense allowed just 18.2 points per game during the regular season - the fewest since 1975. On special teams, Vanderbilt had an All-SEC punter and kicker in the same year for the first time in team history.
In 1998, Franklin earned his first opportunity to participate in the NFL's Minority Coaching Fellowship Program. Franklin interned with the Minnesota Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins. Franklin also worked with Mike Price coaching tight ends at Washington State in 1998. The following year, Franklin helped Idaho State rank among the NCAA's best in total offense as ISU's receivers coach.
Franklin developed a passion for the game as a four-year letter-winning quarterback at East Stroudsburg. He was a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference selection. As a senior, he garnered MVP honors and was a Harlon Hill Trophy nominee for Division II Player of the Year after setting seven school records.
Here what Minnesota Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman had to say about Franklin;
"I was very raw, and needed development in really every area. Coach taught me proper footwork, how to better understand pass routes and schemes, just how to play the position. Truly, to this day, my fundamental foundation as a quarterback came from the time with him,” said Freeman who played for Franklin at Kansas State.
Sure Al Davis wanted Sark before the Raiders settled on Lane Kiffin, but he did so basically because they are essential the same coach.
Please don’t tell me winning seven games a year for four years at Washington is the same as winning in the powerful SEC. The Pac 12 is JV or freshman ball compared to the SEC.
Haden buckled down to those big money boosters and did the same thing Mike Garrett got ran out of town for.
USC hired another a safe pick, but chances are they are going pay for it in the long term. Franklin might be in the NFL by then.