Vanderbilt Says Goodbye to James Franklin

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I feel bad for Vanderbilt. I really and truly do. The betrayal we felt two weeks ago when Bill O’Brien abandoned us for the Texans is the same sort of betrayal I imagine Commodores are feeling in Nashville right now. Much like O’Brien led Penn State through muddy waters and back to prominence, Franklin did the same thing at Vanderbilt — perhaps even to a greater degree.

He was their coach yesterday, ubiquitously loved after resurrecting Vanderbilt into a formidable program in only three years. Today, he is our coach. That’s the reality of this tough business — a business that doesn’t take heartbroken fans into account anymore.

Franklin lit a spark in the fanbase that hadn’t been seen at Vanderbilt in a long time. That newfound passion reached full circle this morning, as a group of fans organized a rally to support the players as they walked into the football building to say goodbye to their coach for the last time. It was called #Starwalk, and it took off on social media all day Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, more hundred fans showed up to greet their players this morning. It reminded me of a smaller version of our Rise and Rally event in July 2012 that still gives me chills to think about it.

 

 

 

I guess I just want to say, thank you Vanderbilt. You have a lot to be proud of. Anchor Down.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams.

I received a phone call last night from Coach Franklin saying he was going to accept a new opportunity. There is no question that James Franklin’s outstanding work has helped put Vanderbilt football on the national stage.

We are extremely sorry to see the Franklin family leave our university and community, and we thank them and wish them the very best. Because of James, Fumi, Shola and Addy Franklin, our program is stronger in every way than it was just a few short years ago.

While I will personally miss them, I want to assure our campus community and Commodore Nation that we are prepared to begin the process that we’ve used in the past to identify and hire our other very successful head coaches.

We have every expectation to hire an outstanding new football coach to build upon the progress that has been made in recent years.

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About Author

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014, and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is a director of the Nittany Valley Society 501(c)(3) and is involved in student government.

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