Penn State head coach James Franklin has been in the spotlight recently for his rumored interest in other coaching jobs, such as USC and LSU. However, Franklin has not confirmed or denied any of these speculations, and instead has focused on his current team and the upcoming game against Iowa. In his latest press conference, Franklin addressed some of the issues that have been swirling around him and his program, such as his contract situation, his insurance policy, and his relationship with the administration.
Franklin has been at Penn State since 2014, and has led the Nittany Lions to a 63-28 record, three New Year’s Six bowl appearances, and a Big Ten championship. He signed a six-year contract extension in 2017, which runs through 2022 and pays him an average of $5.7 million per year. However, Franklin has been vocal about his desire for a new deal that reflects his value and secures his future at Penn State.
“I think I’ve shown my loyalty to this university,” Franklin said. “I think I’ve shown my commitment to this program. I think I’ve shown my commitment to these players. And I think we’ve done it the right way. We haven’t cut corners. We haven’t cheated. We’ve done things the right way. And I’m proud of that. And I think that should be recognized and valued.”
Franklin also said that he has been in discussions with athletic director Sandy Barbour and president Eric Barron about his contract, but did not reveal any details or timelines. He said he hopes to have a resolution soon, but also acknowledged the challenges of negotiating during a pandemic.
“I think everybody wants to get it done as quickly as possible,” Franklin said. “But I also understand that there’s a lot of moving parts right now. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. There’s a lot of challenges right now. And I respect that. And I appreciate that.”
Another topic that came up during Franklin’s press conference was his insurance policy, which he reportedly took out in 2019 to protect himself from potential career-ending injuries or illnesses. Franklin said he decided to get the policy after seeing what happened to former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who retired in 2018 due to health issues.
“I saw what Urban went through,” Franklin said. “And I just felt like it was something that made sense for me and my family.”
Franklin did not disclose the amount or the terms of his policy, but said it was similar to what other coaches have done in the past. He also said he did not view it as a sign of leaving Penn State, but rather as a precautionary measure.
“It’s not something that I’m thinking about on a daily basis,” Franklin said. “It’s not something that I’m planning on using anytime soon. It’s just something that’s there in case something happens that you can’t control.”
Relationship with administration
Franklin also addressed his relationship with the Penn State administration, which has been questioned by some fans and media members who wonder if he is happy or supported at the school. Franklin said he has a good rapport with Barbour and Barron, and praised them for their leadership and vision.
“I think Sandy and President Barron have been tremendous,” Franklin said. “I think they’ve been supportive. I think they’ve been collaborative. I think they’ve been innovative. I think they’ve been aggressive.”
Franklin also said he appreciates the support he receives from the Penn State community, including the fans, the alumni, the donors, and the faculty and staff.
“I love Penn State,” Franklin said. “I love this place. I love these people. I love what we’re building here.”
Franklin said he is focused on leading Penn State to a successful season, and not on any outside distractions or rumors.
“I’m not looking for anything else,” Franklin said. “I’m not looking for another job. I’m not looking for anything but trying to be the best head coach that I can be for Penn State University.”