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James Franklin Went To Denmark To Win His First Championship As A Coach

Long before James Franklin was the head coach at Penn State or led the Nittany Lions to their first Big Ten Championship Game, he traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to get an experience few college coaches probably have.

After graduating from East Stroudsburg in 1995, Franklin took on several one-year position coach jobs before finally settling in as Maryland’s wide receiver coach and recruiting coordinator from 2000-2004. Those jobs in the 90s included stops at Kutztown, his alma mater East Stroudsburg, James Madison, Washington State, and Idaho State.

The most interesting of those 90s stops came in 1996 when he was offered a position with the Roskilde Kings of the Danish American Football Federation.

“I went to Kutztown for six months,” Franklin said. “I got done at Kutztown and I accepted a position to be the quarterback and offensive coordinator in Roskilde, Denmark. I did that. My contract ran till the end of the season. They never had a whole lot of success. We ended up making it to the national championship game.”

The Kings made it to their first Mermaid Bowl — the Super Bowl of Denmark — and played six-time champion Copenhagen Towers. The Kings took down the Towers 62-48, but there was no time to celebrate for Franklin as he was back on a plane almost immediately for his next job.

“I had already agreed to start my graduate assistant position [at East Stroudsburg],” Franklin said. “I actually flew back from Denmark at the end of the season, went to school for a week at East Stroudsburg, flew back to Denmark for the weekend, we won the championship, and I flew back and was at school on Monday. That’s why I have no sympathy or excuses for our players missing class.”

20 years later, Franklin hopes to add to his 1996 Mermaid Bowl and 2001 ACC Championship with his first as a head coach on Saturday.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Steve Connelly is a senior majoring in PR and an editor for Onward State. He is a proud native of the state of New Jersey, and yes, he is literal trash. He is a soccer fan, nap enthusiast, and chicken tender connoisseur. He tries to be a photographer sometimes despite one of his photos inspiring the name of his future sports bar, the Blurry Zamboni. You can follow him on Twitter @slc2o (feel free to slide), email him at [email protected], or come say hi to him in his office, the Irving's basement.


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