VU's James Franklin gets contract extension, 'substantial increase' in pay

Friday, December 2, 2011 at 1:59pm

Nearly a year after being introduced as Vanderbilt’s football coach, James Franklin has received a contract extension.

On Friday, Vanderbilt vice chancellor of athletics David Williams announced that Franklin’s previous contract had been ripped up and he will receive “extended years and a substantial increase in compensation.” Vanderbilt’s policy is to not reveal information about contracts.

Williams also announced the building of an indoor practice facility, which is expected to be completed by the 2014 season.

“There is always discussion about what Vanderbilt has not done and the commitment we don’t have,” Williams said. “The commitment is here. The commitment is here. We are going to fulfill our part. We’ve got a great coach. We kept a great coach.”

In his first year as a head coach, Franklin, 39, exceeded expectations, leading the Commodores to a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility for just the fifth time in school history.

Franklin has been pushing for an indoor practice facility since shortly arriving on campus last December after three years as Maryland’s offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting. The Commodores even recently practiced at Tennessee State’s indoor facility, which is just one of six in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Williams said the 120-yard practice facility feature artificial turf will feature a track and will be an all-purpose, all-event center — not catering just to football. Drawings and plans will be taken to the school’s board for approval, most likely in April. Williams’ ideal scenario would to start breaking ground after graduation in May.

Over the next two years, Williams said 31-year-old Vanderbilt Stadium will receive a new jumbotron, turf and lighting system.

He added that there will be immediate renovations to football coaches’ locker rooms, along with a new 140-seat theatre-style classroom and new locker rooms for Olympic sports. He expected that to be completed by the beginning of next football season.

“I feel great about it,” Franklin said. “It really doesn’t change a whole lot. We have a plan. We have a process. We have just started. We have a lot of work to do.”

Vanderbilt will find out its bowl location and opponent on Sunday. The Commodores will play in their second bowl in four years and third since 1982.