James Franklin has hinted at his intentions to stay at Penn State, amid rumors about openings at programs like LSU and USC. Tuesday, he and the school took a big step in that direction, with the two sides agreeing to a new 10-year contract, running through 2031.
Franklin took over at Penn State in 2014. He has a 67–32 overall record, with a 42–27 mark in Big Ten play. The team won the Big Ten in 2016, and has made three trips to New Year's Six bowls during his tenure.
Franklin is set to make $7 million per year guaranteed, along with annual $500,000 retention bonuses to be paid out on Dec. 31 each year, beginning in 2022. The contract also features annual $1 million loans for life insurance, and a host of incentives worth a maximum of $1 million per year. The biggest incentive would pay out $800,000 for a national championship.
Franklin's buyout is set at $12 million through April 1, 2022. After that date, it will fall to $8 million through Dec. 31, 2022, dropping to $6 million for 2023. The buyout reduces further to $2 million in 2024, and $1 million for 2026, through the end of the deal.
"Penn State's future is bright, and I'm honored to continue to serve as your head football coach," Franklin said in the program's release. "Nine weeks ago, the administration approached me about making a long-term investment in our football program. 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.
"With the support of President Barron, and the Board of Trustees we've been able to create a roadmap of the resources needed to address academic support, community outreach, Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), facility improvements, student-athlete housing, technology upgrades, recruiting, training table and more," Franklin continued. "This renewed commitment to our student-athletes, community and fans reinforces all the reasons I've been proud to serve as your head football coach for the last eight years and why my commitment to Penn State remains steadfast. Throughout this process I've kept our leadership council, recruits and staff updated on those conversations and I'm excited we've reached an agreement we can finally share with you."
Last week, Franklin reportedly told the State College Quarterback Club, a Penn State booster club, that he's "not going anywhere." He was asked about those comments repeatedly over the last few days, and once again hinted at coming news Tuesday before the extension was officially announced.
“I’ve been asked this question a bunch, and I think I’ve said and shown of my commitment and of my loyalty over eight years. I don’t really think that’s a question," Franklin said. "Obviously, this is much more complex than just a yes or no question that I get in these press conferences. And I know a lot of coaches handle it different. But when I speak, I want to be able to speak in detail and I want to be able to know what exactly what’s going on, so you keep asking me these questions, it’s not a simple yes or no answer and I think I have displayed and showed my commitment and loyalty over the past eight years.”
Penn State is 7–4 on the year, and will travel to face Michigan State on Saturday afternoon.
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For more news on the Penn State Nittany Lions, head over to All Penn State.