Penn State University officials made the announcement official on Saturday afternoon. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has become the Nittany Lions’ new head football coach.
Franklin succeeds Bill O’Brien, whose Penn State teams went 15-9 over two seasons. O’Brien accepted the head coaching position with the NFL’s Houston Texans at the end of December.
Franklin tied a school record with 24 wins in three seasons as Vanderbilt’s coach. His 16-4 record in the Commodores’ last twenty games was second-best in the SEC, trailing only Alabama.
Franklin signed a six-year contract which reportedly will average around $4.5 million per year.
Franklin is a Pennsylvania native, having been born in Langhorne in the southeastern part of the state. He played football at Neshaminy High School, and quarterbacked East Stroudsburg in the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. He started his coaching career with stints as an assistant at Kutztown and at his alma mater.