Vanderbilt extends James Franklin

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Vanderbilt didn't hesitate to ensure James Franklin wasn't tempted to leave the private school.

Not even a year after hiring him, Vanderbilt officials extended the football coach's contract extension.

After Franklin led the Commodores to bowl eligibility for the fifth time in school history, Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams said Friday the 39-year-old will receive "extended years and a substantial increase in compensation." The private school's policy is to not disclose contract details.

In addition to announcing the extension, Williams said the university plans to upgrade Vanderbilt Stadium and build an indoor practice complex for use by all Commodore athletic programs.

"There is always discussion about what Vanderbilt has not done and the commitment we don't have," Williams said. "The commitment is here. We are going to fulfill our part. We got a great coach. We kept a great coach."

Franklin took over last December after spending the three previous years as Maryland's offensive coordinator and being named the Terrapins' coach-in-waiting.

The Commodores (6-6) wiped away the sour taste of consecutive 2-10 seasons, and reached their second bowl in four years. Franklin's work at Vanderbilt, historically the SEC's doormat, drew attention nationwide. His name was linked to openings at Penn State and North Carolina.

"All I'm concerned about is maximizing this opportunity," Franklin said. "I feel great about it. It really doesn't change a whole lot. We have a plan. We have a process. We have just started. We have a lot of work to do."

Franklin also added that members of his coaching staff have turned down opportunities to interview for head coaching jobs. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop withdrew his name from consideration for the vacancy at Richmond, an FCS school.

Franklin plans to meet with his assistants once the season is over and "will do whatever is in everybody's best interest."

"When you have success, there is going to be people who are going to come after our coaches. I understand that," Franklin said. "We have a contract and a plan in place to keep these people here. I believe what we have been able to create here. is a community and climate that these guys love coming to work. There is a not a dollar value you can put on that."

The target date for the completion of the indoor practice facility is prior to the 2014 season. The facility will be 120 yards long and feature an artificial turf surface, along with a track. Williams hopes to have drawings and plans finished by April in order to receive approval from the university's board of trustees. Ideally, he wants to break ground after graduation in May.

Since arriving on campus last December, Franklin has pitched for an indoor facility. He said it would not only prevent his team from losing practice time in inclement weather but would be used as a tool for recruiting.

"From a coaching perspective, I want everything yesterday," Franklin said. "Did our success this year help speed that process up? There is no doubt about that."

Over the next two years, the university will install a new scoreboard, new turf and new lighting to Vanderbilt Stadium. By next fall, Vanderbilt hopes to have renovated coaches' locker rooms, added a 140-seat theatre-style classroom to the athletics building and completed new locker rooms for Olympic sports.

"We have basically changed the direction at this university," Williams said. "We could sit here for weeks and I can give you all sort of reasons why it didn't get done in the past. The thing to celebrate is whatever was in the way, ain't in the way anymore. We're going to build it."