By nearly any standard, what James Franklin has accomplished at Vanderbilt in 11 months is impressive. Franklin led the Commodores to a 6-6 record including close losses to Florida (21-26) and Arkansas (28-31) and has the 'Dores going bowling; but more impressive is the turnaround he has done for the image of the program and the psyche of the University.
Vandy's Chancellor recently stated that Coach Franklin has agreed to an extension that includes a significant pay increase. As comes with success, Franklin's name is being mentioned in some circles for other jobs (UNC is currently out there).
Franklin is a man of high character, and a man of his word. From the video below, it's clear how much the Vanderbilt base has embraced him. Even if it were "his dream job" (no need for Randy Edsall jokes), at this time for Franklin to even consider another job would be incredibly out of character. We don't believe that's the case.
Athletic director Bill Moos held a press conference yesterday to talk about the state of the Cougar football program, and answered every media questions very directly.
"We have the lowest annual giving numbers by far in the Pac-12 and I feel we have apathy in our fan base. That is the primary reason for the change I made."
Moos stated that the program deserves a big name coach with head coaching experience and he would prefer someone who brought a high octane offense to put people in the stands. Moos will act as the entire search committee. He also said that he keeps a "short list" in the top drawer of his desk and that he updates it regularly.
He was easily coerced into saying that Mike Leach is on that short list (in fact many watching got the feeling that most of his talk was aimed directly at Leach). In fact, Moos spoke openly about Leach. Other names he discussed included Mike Bellotti ("he's on the short list; but I'd say he's softly on it...haven't spoken with Mike in quite a while"), Dennis Erickson ("no, I don't really see him being a candidate here this time") and Dirk Koetter ("I think he's pretty comfortable in the league...good coach though"). Moos stressed that getting a coach in place quickly is going to be the focus, and expects to name someone within two to three weeks. Moos said he knew that he was going to have to be prepared to pay significantly more than Paul Wulff was making to attract top talent.
Wulff stated, "You're looking at the search committee (and pointed to himself). That's how I do it and that's what I beleive in." If he is able to reach an agreement with one of his top two or three candidates, we expect this one to play out rather quickly.
We hear that Moos will consider Leach, Jim McElwain and Scott Linehan.