By Steve Patterson
LANGHORNE, PA (CBS) – Analysts and insiders are now saying the dwindling hours of Friday night is the final hour in the hunt for a Penn State head coach.
It’s being widely reported that Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin will be announced as the new Penn State Football coach. Word is PSU officials are finalizing a contract for Saturday morning.
Franklin is often described as young, animated and charismatic. The 41-year-old did what many thought was impossible when he took a middling program in a powerhouse league and turned it into a winner. He’s led the school to consecutive bowl seasons.
“Coach Franklin looks like an excellent choice,” said Delaware County PSU Alumni President John Gallagher. “He certainly has the credentials, he’s paid his dues. Every place he’s been, he’s left it better than when he got there.”
Even better: Franklin is a Pennsylvania boy.
The Langhorne native was a quarterback at Neshaminy High, leading the team to a perfect 11-0 regular season before breaking records at East Stroudsburg. Former Neshaminy coach John Chaump has known Franklin for more than two decades.
“He’s smart,” said Chaump. “It’s great that he’s gotten this far and done this well. I’m a proud papa.”
Not everyone likes the idea. Friday, columnists across the country criticized the possible decision because of an incident that brought scandal to the student body at Vandy.
Last June, four of Franklin’s players have been charged with repeatedly raping an unconscious 21-year-old student in a campus dorm. Franklin has not been tied to the case in anyway and he removed the players from the team.
Coach Chaump said that’s just another reason to give Franklin the reigns.
“That’s just a credit to James,” he said. “The way he handled that, he didn’t try to cover anything up or hide it. He disciplined the players, dismissed them from the team and did what was right.”