Penn State extends James Franklin: Big 10-year contract retains coach as Nittany Lions guess on stability

Penn State coach James Franklin has signed a 10-year, $75 million assured extension to stick with the Nittany Lions long run via the 2031 season, this system introduced Tuesday. Franklin has led Penn State to a 67-32 document in eight seasons, together with a 2016 Huge Ten championship, simply the second outright Huge Ten title for the group for the reason that Nittany Lions joined the league in 1993. 

“Penn State’s future is shiny, and I am honored to proceed to function your head soccer coach,” Franklin mentioned in a press release. “9 weeks in the past, the administration approached me about making a long-term funding in our soccer program. This prompted quite a few conversations outlining the assets wanted to be aggressive at a stage that matches the expectations and historical past of Penn State. What’s most evident from these conversations is the significance of our student-athletes’ success each on and off the sector.”

The extension comes amid hypothesis that Franklin is a prime contender for the roles at USC and LSU in a crowded teaching market quick on candidates. In a latest speech delivered in entrance of the State School Quarterback Membership, nevertheless, Franklin reportedly said “I am not going wherever,” alluding to the potential extension. 

The contract is filled with incentives including to the $7 million base wage and $500,000 a 12 months retention bonus. Along with a yearly $1 million life insurance coverage mortgage, Franklin can earn an $800,000 escalator to his wage by successful a nationwide championship. Different incentives embody $350,000 for successful the Huge Ten, $400,000 for incomes a berth within the School Soccer Playoff and $100,000 for successful Huge Ten Coach of the Yr. 

Franklin, 49, took over Penn State in 2014, simply two years after the Jerry Sandusky scandal rocked this system. He rapidly returned this system to nationwide relevance. The Nittany Lions have received 10 video games thrice beneath Franklin’s watch, resulting in top-10 finishes in 2016, 2017 and 2019. 

Penn State’s 2016 squad is the final non-Ohio State group to win the Huge Ten. He additionally has wins within the Fiesta Bowl and Cotton Bowl. Previous to arriving at Penn State, Franklin led Vanderbilt to a 24-15 document over a three-year interval and served as offensive coordinator at each Maryland and Kansas State. 

Listed below are three of the largest takeaways as Penn State has locked up its coach amid rumors of a possible exit. 

The largest domino stays standing

Franklin has been linked to big-name jobs like USC and LSU for years, even earlier than the positions got here open this 12 months. Nevertheless, the extension rapidly shuts the door on essentially the most confirmed candidate in what has develop into a crowded teaching market. The choice is a big win for Penn State, particularly as Franklin can proceed to promote recruits that the nation’s elite applications needed him … and he selected State School. 

The choice additionally prevents Penn State from being one of many openings in a aggressive cycle. If Franklin left, each Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell can be sturdy contenders for the opening, which might have set off one other spherical of the teaching carousel. There’s little assure that Penn State might have discovered a candidate as sturdy as Franklin. As a substitute, Franklin maintains the steadiness among the many Huge Ten’s elite. 

Penn State bets on stability

Whereas Penn State has earned three AP top-10 finishes beneath Franklin’s watch, the identical quantity within the final 19 years mixed, the Nittany Lions are recent off the worst two-year stretch of the Franklin period. Penn State has gone 11-9 with a highway matchup in opposition to No. 7 Michigan State nonetheless left on the schedule. 

Granted, the weird pandemic season in 2020 was hardly consultant of Penn State’s high quality. And the Nittany Lions’ 4 losses in 2021 got here by a mixed 18 factors, together with two involving an damage to quarterback Sean Clifford. Play this season over once more and Penn State very nicely might have been the Huge Ten favourite. 

Moreover, Franklin is ready to deliver his first-ever top-five recruiting class to State School within the 2022 cycle. High-100 quarterback Drew Allar is the highest quarterback recruit headed to Penn State since second-round NFL Draft choose Christian Hackenberg. Franklin has been open about the truth that he needs to be the primary Black coach to win a nationwide championship. With the rumors shut down for now, he is set for a robust second act in Pleased Valley to see if he can meet that aim. 

The contract particulars are telling

Whereas the contract is for 10 years, do not count on it to maintain Franklin’s title out of the rumor mill. The construction of the contract is primarily constructed to maintain Franklin on the town via the 2021 offseason. 

Franklin’s buyout to go away for an additional job is $12 million via April 1, 2022. After April hits, the buyout instantly drops to a manageable $8 million earlier than $6 million in 2023 and all the best way right down to a tiny $2 million in 2024, simply three seasons from now. On the contrary, Penn State will owe Franklin the whole thing of his $70 million annual compensation, even when it fires him. 

The contract provides Franklin unmatched flexibility in selecting his personal future. If a high-caliber job comes open, he’ll have the ability to depart with out a lot concern. If his latest struggles proceed, Penn State continues to be on the hook for $70 million. The flip aspect is that Penn State now not has to fret that it should fill Franklin’s job on quick discover throughout one of the vital crowded teaching searches ever. 

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