NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams says James Franklin remains the Commodores’ football coach as of Thursday afternoon and that Franklin has informed him that he has not accepted another job offer.
Several media outlets have reported that Franklin has an offer from Penn State that he is expected to accept it within 48 hours, or as early as Thursday afternoon.
Williams told The Associated Press that he has heard all of the reports and knows that Penn State officials have been talking with Franklin.
“He called to let me know the reports that he had accepted another job were inaccurate,” the Vanderbilt athletic director said. “And I didn’t ask anything more than that nor did he volunteer anything more than that.”
Williams said he met with Franklin on Tuesday night, spoke with him on Wednesday and again Thursday. As of 2:45 p.m. EST Thursday, Williams said that Franklin “is Vanderbilt’s football coach.”
“If there is something that’s going to happen, I’m sure he’ll be in touch with us,” Williams said.
Vanderbilt had only one winning season since 1982 before Williams hired Franklin in December 2010. The Commodores also had only four bowl berths before Franklin arrived, and he now has taken them to three straight bowls.
Franklin is 24-15 in his three seasons as Vanderbilt’s head coach, matching Dan McGugin for the most wins in school history over a coach’s first three seasons. The Commodores are 16-4 over the past 20 games, second in the SEC only to Alabama. Vanderbilt won the final seven games of 2012 and the final five of 2013 in a stretch that also includes back-to-back bowl wins.
Vanderbilt has gone 9-4 each of the past two seasons and finished in the final Associated Press rankings each of these two seasons, including No. 24 in the poll released Tuesday. Vanderbilt hadn’t finished in the final AP poll before Franklin arrived since 1948 under Red Sanders.
Franklin was given a contract extension in December 2012 designed to keep him at Vanderbilt for years to come. Asked if Vanderbilt has worked to restructure Franklin’s deal since the Commodores beat Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 4, Williams said they have an ongoing process to remain competitive.
“We think that we had a good season and a successful season, and we constantly reward people for that,” Williams said.
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