James Franklin expected to be named Penn State coach, reports say


James Franklin and his players celebrate during the BBVA Compass Bowl game against Houston. (Butch Dill / AP)

Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin is expected to accept an offer to become the next coach at Penn State, according to multiple reports.

Bill O’Brien, who led the program for two seasons after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, left last week to become head coach of the Houston Texans. Although Franklin, a former assistant at Maryland, was believed to be one of the coaches the Washington Redskins were interested in, they have hired Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator to succeed Mike Shanahan. Both ESPN and CBS Sports report that Franklin is headed to Happy Valley.

Franklin, 41, is a Pennsylvania native and won 24 games over three years, leading the Commodores to three bowl games. On Tuesday, Vanderbilt Athletic Director David Williams vowed to try to retain Franklin.

“I expect James to be our football coach. I’m planning on it,” Williams told CBS Sports. “We’re looking at facilities. We’re working on some stuff. I have all thoughts that he’s going to be our football coach. I’ll do everything I can to make sure that he is.”

Penn State interviewed San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman on Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. The Nittany Lions also reportedly considered Miami Coach Al Golden and former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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