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James Franklin: ‘My Goal Is To Be First African-American Football Coach To Win National Championship’

Penn State’s appearance on this week’s episode of “24/7 College Football” gave fans an inside look at the inner workings of the storied program’s resurgence under James Franklin. It also gave them the opportunity to get to know Franklin, who’s normally very calculated and doesn’t disclose much in media appearances, on a more personal level.

Toward the end of the episode, the camera crew went home with Franklin for his Thursday night tradition of spending the night in and watching football with his wife and daughters. An interview with Franklin sitting in his basement revealed what he considers to be his main goal as a coach.

“I don’t usually talk about this publicly, but my goal is to be the first African-American football coach to win a college national championship,” he said. “That’s something that’s very historic.”

Franklin has mentioned this aspiration from time to time before in media interviews, but it’s by far his most-public declaration about it, because as always, his focus remains on his players.

“I spend very little time talking about it because, really, my job is to help the players reach their goal,” he said. “But that’s something that maybe we can do together.”

That message seems to have resonated with the players, as Devyn Ford told Brian Dohn of 247Sports last year after committing to Penn State.

“What took the lead with Penn State was James Franklin and what he dreams of,” Ford said. “I hooked onto his dream and I felt it and I believed in it. That’s what really got me…He’s going to be the first black coach in NCAA history to win a national championship.”

It also echoes something Franklin’s discussed in the past about how he can pave the way for other African-Americans in the sport.

“I also feel like I carry a little bit of that weight that I’m also working for thousands of young African-American football coaches all over the country that, when someone gets into my position, he said during a press conference last year. “The success that we have here hopefully opens some opportunities for other guys in the future.”

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected]. All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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