James Franklin and Micah Shrewsberry Form Quick Bond at Penn State

Football coach James Franklin reached out to Penn State's new men's basketball coach to ask how he can help.
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Micah Shrewsberry's whirlwind first week as Penn State men's basketball coach included a visit with the football program. Specifically to Penn State's Pro Day, where Shrewsberry mingled with Penn State players, NFL coaches and, most important, James Franklin.

"I know my place in this university," Shrewsberry joked during his introductory press conference. "I need him to help us recruit, and that’s huge for me. I love it."

Shrewsberry and Franklin have formed a quick bond at Penn State, with Franklin serving as an important voice during the hiring process. Shrewsberry said Franklin reached out to offer insight into coaching at Penn State, where Shrewsberry became a major-college head coach for the first time.

Franklin has spoken often about wanting to be a sounding board for new coaches, and for important university hires in general. To Shrewsberry, that proved welcoming.

"I watch college football and I watch it a lot," Shrewsberry said. "And being able to have a man like James Franklin, a coach like him, to learn from, to pick his brain, the good and the bad of this place, [is important]. He’s reached out, he’s asked questions, he’s asked how he can help. He’s going through spring football practice right now. He’s got a lot on his plate, but he’s trying to help me, and I’m just thrilled to have someone like that, as well as the other coaches."

Franklin knew about Shrewsberry's hiring in mid-March, when he was asked about it during a spring-practice media session. Franklin didn't mention Shrewsberry specifically but spoke in general about Penn State employing head coaches who are Black in both football and men's basketball.

"I want to be a resource, obviously," Franklin said. "And then I think it's great for the student-athletes. I think it is great for the university as a whole. I know how important that diversity is to President [Eric] Barron and the administration, so if that happens to play out that way, then great. But ultimately, it's about hiring the best person for Penn State to help our basketball program take the next step."

During his press conference, Shrewsberry noted Penn State's other sports successes and related them to basketball. He called himself jealous of the Penn State women's soccer team, which won the Big Ten title this season. Shrewsberry said he wants men's basketball to do it next.

He also recognized two head coaches who recently reached milestones: Men's volleyball coach Mark Pavlik clinched his 600th career victory, and men's lacrosse coach Jeff Tambroni reached win No. 200.

"That makes this a great job," Shrewsberry said. "If nobody was having success at Penn State, then you would have a little bit of pause. But there are a lot of teams that are having success, and we want to strive to be in that conversation."

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