Penn State and head football coach James Franklin have agreed to a new 10-year contract, the school announced. The new deal runs through the 2031 season and is worth $7.5 million per year, plus incentives and a $1 million annual life insurance loan. The subcommittee on compensation of Penn State’s board of trustees approved the contract Tuesday afternoon.
“Nine weeks ago, the administration approached me about making a long-term investment in our football program,” Franklin said in a news release. “This prompted numerous conversations outlining the resources needed to be competitive at a level that matches the expectations and history of Penn State. What’s most evident from those conversations is the importance of our student-athletes’ success both on and off the field.”
Franklin reportedly told the State College Quarterback Club, a group of boosters and fans, last week during their private luncheon that he didn’t plan to go anywhere. In the past month, he’s told several members of Penn State’s highly touted 2022 recruiting class, including four-star quarterback Drew Allar, these efforts were about improving facilities.
“We keep talking facilities, it’s much more than that,” Franklin said Tuesday afternoon at his news conference, hours before the trustees approved the contract. He’ll next meet with the media Wednesday night after practice.
This extension is Franklin’s fourth contract at Penn State. He had most recently signed a six-year extension in December 2019. Franklin’s latest contract comes after he switched agents, as he is now represented by Jimmy Sexton. He has been mentioned as a possible candidate for multiple other jobs, including USC, which fired Clay Helton in September.
The Nittany Lions have gone 11-9 since the start of the 2020 season, bringing Franklin’s record at Penn State to 67-32 heading into his 100th game Saturday at Michigan State. During Franklin’s tenure, the Nittany Lions rebounded from NCAA sanctions to win the 2016 Big Ten title and have appeared in three New Year’s Six bowl games.
Franklin has hinted at needing more of a commitment from Penn State but has declined to get into specifics about what he wants and asked reporters to hold off on asking more about it earlier Tuesday.
“I’ve said it really since I got here, we have to compete the 364 other days a year with everything,” he said Tuesday, adding that Penn State has done an internal study on best practices. He declined to disclose the findings of that study. “Everything matters. … There will be a time in place here that we’ll talk about that in more detail.”
In the past, Franklin has mentioned wanting a football-only indoor facility and also spoke about his desire to have more analysts on staff. The year-round facility arms race is one Penn State has been involved in, with ongoing renovations in the Lasch Football Building.
A $48.3 million renovation became a topic of contention last February among several members of the board of trustees. Notably, Jay Paterno opposed the project while former All-America linebacker Brandon Short, also a member of the board, supported it. Short believes Penn State needs to invest even more in football. The board voted 27-6 in favor of the renovation, and construction began last spring.
“This is where it is my job, as well as the administration, to come together, really evaluate what’s happening nationally, who are we truly competing against, what our expectations are and then go after it with everything we have,” Franklin said earlier this month on his weekly radio show.
(Photo: G Fiume / Getty Images)