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It's Official: James Franklin is New Penn State Football Coach

Penn State officially announced its new football coach Saturday morning.

It's Official: James Franklin is New Penn State Football Coach
Written By Jack Tobias

Penn State made it official Saturday morning—it has selected James Franklin, onetime quarterback at East Stroudsburg University, Neshaminy High grad and current Vanderbilt University coach, as its new football coach, replacing Bill O'Brien.

University President Rodney Erickson and athletics director Dave Joyner announced Franklin's appointment, according to a release on the university's website.

Starting with O'Brien's two-year tenure, Penn State has been trying to get the football program back on track following the Jerry Sandusky sex assault scandal and the death of longtime coach and football legend Joe Paterno.

"The enthusiastic and passionate Franklin led Vanderbilt University to unprecedented success in his three years as head coach, winning nine games in each of the past two years, and finishing in the Top 25 in consecutive seasons, both for the first time in school history, the release says.

Franklin will be introduced on the Penn State campus at 4:15 p.m. today Saturday. O'Brien has become coach of the NFL's Houston Texans.

"Dr. Joyner and I have stressed that our No. 1 priority in hiring a new coach was to hire an outstanding leader for our football program, one who will continue our long tradition of student-athlete success on the field and in the classroom," Erickson said. "We have achieved that goal. On behalf of the university and the entire Nittany Lion Nation, I am proud to welcome James Franklin as Penn State's 16th head football coach."

The release notes that Franklin has taken Vanderbilt to 24-15 over the past three years, including marks of 9-4 during each of the past two seasons, capped by bowl victories.

The Commodores finished the 2013 season with five consecutive victories, with wins over Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky in Southeastern Conference play, along with a win over Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Franklin's 2012 squad finished the season with seven consecutive victories and posted VU's first nine-win season since 1915.

Joyner said of Franklin's selection:

"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. 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."

The full release on Franklin's selection is available on the university website.

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