Sources: Penn State offers Franklin job

(MCT) – Penn State's coaching search may not go on much longer.
Jan 9, 2014
Vanderbilt Commodores head coach James Franklin watches his team during game against the University of Missouri at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri, Saturday, October 6, 2012. Vanderbilt defeated Missouri, 19-15. (Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star/MCT)

(MCT) – Penn State's coaching search may not go on much longer.

Two sources close to Penn State's program confirmed to The Times-Tribune late Wednesday night that Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin was offered the head coaching position during an hours-long meeting with the university's search committee in Destin, Fla. Both sources, who spoke on conditions of anonymity because no official announcement had been made, said Franklin is expected to either accept or reject the job today.

The slick Commodores coach, who guided the longtime SEC doormats to a second consecutive nine-win season for the first time in history this past season, began the day with reported plans to interview with the Washington Redskins for their head coaching vacancy. By nightfall, ESPN had reported that Franklin would not be interviewing with Washington or any other NFL franchise, and that next season, he'd be coaching either Vanderbilt or Penn State.

It didn't appear, however, like his current employer was going to allow Franklin to leave for Penn State without something to consider.

Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams told Nashville radio station 104.5 FM Wednesday afternoon that he has spoken with Franklin about staying on with the Commodores in the wake of the news he'd accept the Penn State offer. Williams wouldn't confirm speculation that he offered the man he called "the best college football coach in America" more money, improved facilities or a bigger financial commitment to the program to stay.

But he had no qualms about saying how far he'd go to ensure Franklin continues on the Commodores' sidelines.

"I'd shave my head (to keep Franklin)," Williams said, "and I'd give him the money I saved going to the barber shop." Despite the late meeting and job offer to Franklin, another day passed without a hire, a day after athletic director Dr. David Joyner reiterated his opinion from late last week that the search for the 16th Nittany Lions coach is "robust" and should be over in a matter of days.

Scranton native Mike Munchak waited for word on whether his interview Sunday would lead to an offer. But all that came of Wednesday for him was an interview with the Detroit Lions for their head coaching job, according to The Tennessean. Sources say that, if neither the Nittany Lions or Lions work out, Munchak will gain plenty of interest from teams around the NFL who are searching for offensive line coaches, including the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Meanwhile, CBS reported the search committee interviewed San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman on Monday.

The longtime offensive coordinator for head coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and in San Francisco, Roman is preparing the 49ers for their NFC Division Playoff meeting with the Panthers in Carolina on Sunday. Roman expressed interest in the job in 2011, when the search committee ultimately gave it to O'Brien.

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