Nittany Lion football coach will remain at Penn State through 2031
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s James Franklin has agreed to the terms of a new 10-year contract to remain as the head football coach of the Nittany Lions through 2031. The terms were approved by the Subcommittee on Compensation of the Penn State Board of Trustees today.
“Penn State’s future is bright, and I’m honored to continue to serve as your head football coach,” said Franklin. “Nine weeks ago, the administration approached me about making a long-term investment in our football program. This prompted numerous conversations outlining the resources needed to be competitive at a level that matches the expectations and history of Penn State. What’s most evident from those conversations is the importance of our student-athletes’ success both on and off the field.
“With the support of President Barron, Sandy Barbour and the Board of Trustees we’ve been able to create a roadmap of the resources needed to address academic support, community outreach, Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), facility improvements, student-athlete housing, technology upgrades, recruiting, training table and more. This renewed commitment to our student-athletes, community and fans reinforces all the reasons I’ve been proud to serve as your head football coach for the last eight years and why my commitment to Penn State remains steadfast. Throughout this process I’ve kept our leadership council, recruits and staff updated on those conversations and I’m excited we’ve reached an agreement we can finally share with you.”
Sandy Barbour, Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, said the commitment to Franklin and the football program is important to continue to compete as one of the premiere programs in the country.
“We are excited to have James Franklin lead our football program for a long time,” said Barbour. “We will continue our collective efforts to constantly improve in all aspects of our program. We have made, and will need to continue to make, significant investment in our football program because we believe we have a very bright future under James. With this contract, we are signaling our sustained commitment to being one of the premiere programs in the history of college football. Our goals and aspirations relating to football have never wavered and our investments today and in the future of our program will allow us to compete at the highest level.
“James has been a tremendous leader, providing a Penn State standard of care and attention to all aspects of growth and development for our student-athletes. Our young men have benefited from his guidance academically, socially and athletically. I’m thrilled James has committed to Penn State and to providing that leadership for years to come. I’m looking forward to years of impact for students and community for our football program under his leadership and to the Franklin family remaining valued and prominent members of our community. I know there will be much success ahead for our football program with Coach Franklin at the helm.”
Penn State President Eric J. Barron also commended Franklin and the program for their achievements.
“Penn State is very happy to offer this extension to Coach Franklin, who has created an environment in which our student-athletes can be successful on the field, as well as leaders in our community and beyond,” said Barron. “As head coach, James continues to build the Nittany Lion football program even while navigating a number of exceptional challenges, including COVID-19 and a shift in amateurism rules in college sports. We look forward to his sustained success, his pursuit of excellence, and his remaining an integral part of Penn State football and our University.”
Franklin, who will coach his 100th game at Penn State Saturday at Michigan State, owns a 67-32 record as the Nittany Lions’ leader. Under Franklin, the Nittany Lions are 43-12 at Beaver Stadium with three undefeated campaigns. Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to the 2016 Big Ten Championship, as well as bowl games in seven of his eight seasons as head coach, including the 2017 Rose Bowl, 2017 Fiesta Bowl and 2019 Cotton Bowl.
Since 2016, Penn State holds a .726 winning percentage, with a record of 53-20, the ninth-best winning percentage among Power Five programs. Penn State has won at least nine games in four of the last five seasons, one of eight FBS programs to accomplish the feat.
Franklin is second all-time in winning percentage by an FBS African American head coach (minimum 80 wins) and is third in total wins. He has led the Nittany Lions to three 10-win seasons during his time in Happy Valley. Franklin has secured top-25 recruiting classes each of his last nine seasons, including a top-5 class at Penn State in 2018.
In the classroom, Franklin’s student-athletes have claimed four CoSIDA Academic All-American honors and two National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete accolades. The Nittany Lions posted their first 1,000 single-year APR in program history in 2018-19, topping the previous high of 993 in 2014-15.
He was selected as the 2019 Renaissance Fund recipient, which honors outstanding community members and helps students in need. Franklin and his family have created the Franklin Family Educational Equity Scholarship, which is given to help make the Penn State experience affordable for students who haven’t had access to enroll in the past.
The Nittany Lions face No. 12/13 Michigan State Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in East Lansing to close out the regular season. Penn State finds out its bowl destination Sunday, December 5. For information on requesting tickets, visit GoPSUsports.com/bowlcentral.
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and ticket information for the 2021 Penn State Football season presented by PSECU, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, or call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
COURTESY PENN STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS