With SEC schools scrambling to find a new head coach to run their programs, Vanderbilt made sure it kept its current guy for even longer.
Just before Vanderbilt celebrated its selection in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl against NC State, the school announced that coach James Franklin received a contract extension that includes more money and guarantees more facilities upgrades. Franklin's assistants are also expected to receive raises.
Athletic director David Williams called the well-deserved extension a "long-term" contract that will keep Franklin at Vandy for "a number of years."
I guess that does it for Franklin's name being thrown out for a few jobs around the country, including in the SEC.
This is the second year in a row that Franklin has received a contract extension. Because Vandy is a private institution, the terms of his new deal weren't released, but you can imagine that he was compensated nicely after two tremendously successful years with the Commodores.
He's currently 14-11 at Vandy and is fresh off guiding the Commodores to their first eight-win season since 1982. Vandy also ended the season on a six-game winning streak, a streak that hasn't occurred since 1955. The Commodores also won five SEC games for the first time since 1935.
"James has been a tremendous success here and by any right he does deserve a raise anyway," Williams said. "We've tried to put him in a position where he and his family will be very, very happy and very comfortable here in Nashville, and I think that's the case."
Franklin has done an excellent job in his two seasons at Vandy. Not only are the wins coming but the vibe around the program is completely different compared to when Franklin first arrived. Players, coaches and administrators are more confident and have the expectation to win whenever they take the field.
That wasn't always the case before Franklin's tenure began.
This extension shows you the dedication both sides have when it comes to this football program. It would have been easy for Franklin to take a hard look at other opportunities. No one would have questioned him if he decided to leave for a bigger opportunity, but he's committed to Vandy and is looking to build, not coast. He is looking to really make Vandy as competitive as possible in the SEC, not just on the field. He wants better surroundings for players and fans.
He didn't just ask for the weight room to be spruced up -- he wants administrators to take a look at what can be done to Vanderbilt Stadium, which is the SEC's smallest football venue (40,350 capacity).
Franklin is making sure Vandy continues its ascent through the SEC ranks. He's proved to be both an excellent recruiter and motivator and wants championships. Franklin truly believes he can build a championship-caliber program at Vandy.
“This is about continuing to make progress, continuing to take steps in the right direction, so we can build a program for the long haul that people can be very, very proud of," Franklin said.