Another day brings more head coaching drama in Happy Valley. However, there may be hope that a resolution to the head coaching vacancy at Penn State may soon be drawing to a conclusion. After it was announced yesterday by Penn State AD Dave Joyner that:
The search for the new leader of the Penn State football program is progressing very well. We are on schedule and I anticipate having the new head coach in place in a matter of days. The search is robust as we anticipated it would be and we have an excellent pool of candidates. I have heard from many coaches, or their representatives, who have expressed their interest in the position.
Many were wondering which coach may be given the opportunity to lead the Nittany Lions in 2014. Would it be James Franklin? Would it be Mike Munchak? Perhaps Larry Johnson, Sr. might be given a shot? Or, maybe a dark horse candidate, much like Bill O’Brien was, would be given a chance. As of Wednesday morning, CBS’s Jason LaCanfora was reporting that San Francisco 49′ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman would be interviewed for the head coaching position at Penn State.
Penn State has interview set with 49ers OC Greg Roman — Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 8, 2014
Around 3 PM this afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted the following in regards to Greg Roman and PSU’s possible interest in him:
As it turns out, 49ers OC Greg Roman interviewed Monday in Chicago for the Penn State head coaching job, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 8, 2014
With Penn State reaching out to Roman, it was feared that James Franklin had decided to return to Vanderbilt or possibly look toward the NFL. As footballscoop.com reported, the Penn State search committee left meetings with representatives of James Franklin last night feeling disgruntled.
Source at PSU told me tonight they thought they had Franklin ready to come…then Vandy wanted to match. PSU wasn’t pleased. — FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) January 8, 2014
The Commodores and AD David Williams were setting their sights on keeping their coach. Reports indicated that Williams was ready to re-work Franklin’s current contract to get him more money for his assistant coaches and to make improvements to the football facilities. Williams was ready to do whatever it took to keep his coach at the Nashville campus. He even said on afternoon radio in Nashville that he would be willing to shave his head if it meant keeping Franklin at Vanderbilt. Later, Brandt Snedeker, PGA Tour golfing professional and Vanderbilt alum tweeted the following:
— Brandt Snedeker (@BrandtSnedeker) January 8, 2014
While golf lessons from one of the PGA Tour’s brightest young stars might be a tempting offer, I’m not sure that will be the cherry on top for Franklin.
As the “Franklin Watch” (Saga) continued later in the afternoon and into the early evening, reports began leaking out from various media sources, including ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter that Franklin would not be pursuing a chance to go to the NFL, but would likely stay in the college ranks, either with Penn State or return to Vanderbilt.
While nothing is definitive and no job offer has been made to James Franklin, he clearly seems to be the front-runner for the position as members of the media tweeted yesterday. Lou Prato, an esteemed Penn State journalist tweeted the following about 2 hours ago:
Heard from source Frankin en route to PSU to be introduced tomorrow as HC. We shall see!
— Lou Prato (@LouPrato) January 9, 2014
In an interesting and humorous side of the story, many on social media have taken to a website called flightware.com. This website will track all of the out-going and in-coming flights in the United States. Why would anyone want to know about US flights you might ask? As it turns out, James Franklin has a summer house in Destin, Florida where he was to be on vacation with his family today. Flightaware is tracking a private Penn State flight that left Destin, FL around 7:45 and it’s destination…State College, PA. What will happen…only time will tell!
Stay tuned to VictoryBellRings for all of the latest in this turn in the coaching saga.
Follow staff writer Corey Hunter on Twitter.