'We are better:' Penn State's James Franklin talks about importance of his new contract
Penn State coach James Franklin called his new six-year contract “really important,” not only for the program but also to his wife.
“Whenever we get a new [recruiting] commitment, I always tweet out, ‘We Are better,’” Franklin said Sunday. “And it was really pretty cool to see a bunch of former [Penn State] players, players in the NFL and also our current players, all tweeting out, ‘We Are better’ with a connection to my new contract announcement. I thought that was really cool. It meant a lot to me and my wife.”
Penn State re-signed Franklin through the 2025 season, marking the coach’s third contract in six years with the program. He is just over two years removed from his last contract renegotiation, which brought Franklin more than a $1 million annual raise to about $5.7 million per year in 2017, with the opportunity to earn n $1 million in bonuses.
Contract details on his latest deal haven’t been announced, but Franklin is expected to become one of the nation’s highest-paid coaches. Though the contract’s basic terms will be released, what won’t be known are the guarantees Franklin received regarding coaching salaries, facilities financing and other resources devoted to football.
Sandy Barbour, Penn State’s athletic director, said the new contract represents a “strong pledge to James and this program.” For several years, Franklin has discussed the need for upgrades across the program.
He suggested that this contract will help generate those resources. Further, Franklin said that the contract is about “consistency” with the program.
“Winning is really important, but it’s so much more than wins here,” Franklin said. “So to be able to get in a room and kind of talk through all these things and ask, ‘What can we do? What can we do to continue to make our community proud and the university proud and our lettermen proud?’ We keep chipping away at that. So we continue to make significant progress, and we want to continue to do that.”
Penn State announced Franklin’s new contract during the final recruiting stretch before the early signing period begins Dec. 18. Franklin entertained recruits on campus this past weekend and will do so again next weekend.
Players and parents often ask about his future. The announcement, Franklin said, helped bridge those talks.
“I know that’s been a major point of conversation; recruits knowing and understanding that I have a contract that’s going to last throughout their career,” Franklin said. “It’s a big part of it as well.”
Penn State will conclude the season Dec. 28 in the Cotton Bowl against Memphis. The Lions (10-2) were ranked 10th in the final College Football Playoff rankings.