Statement from David Williams
Jan. 11, 2014
I received a phone call last night from Coach Franklin saying he was going to accept a new opportunity. There is no question that James Franklin's outstanding work has helped put Vanderbilt football on the national stage. We are extremely sorry to see the Franklin family leave our university and community, and we thank them and wish them the very best. Because of James, Fumi, Shola and Addy Franklin, our program is stronger in every way than it was just a few short years ago. While I will personally miss them, I want to assure our campus community and Commodore Nation that we are prepared to begin the process that we've used in the past to identify and hire our other very successful head coaches. We have every expectation to hire an outstanding new football coach to build upon the progress that has been made in recent years.
"Obviously, this has really been an up and down week. Yesterday at 1 p.m. I met with Coach Franklin and his wife and a few other people and we talked about where they were. As coach had indicated to throughout the week they had not yet made a decision. We talked a lot about how that process was going. I wanted to make sure we weren't talking about a compensation issue and he assured me that that was not the issue. He had to look at things that he wanted for he and his family. He said he would let me know later that evening what the decision was. At about 7 p.m. I got a call from him and at that time he told me that he had decided to take the job at Penn State.
"It was a disappointing decision because we hired Coach Franklin; we love Coach Franklin and still do. He was a great coach and did a lot for us here and our program but I respect his decision and wish him well.
"We're about ready to get on with business and keep this thing going."
On doing preliminary work to find the next coach this week:
"There are certain things that are always in place. You always have something in place that allows you to maintain [the athletic department]. I met with the team today and told them one of the things we wanted to do was keep their life as normal as possible. We have 15 other sports and we had to keep business going as usual so you try to have plans that take care of different things.
"We've start that process and I think that will go real well."
On the coaching search being different this time:
"Last time when we did this, quite honestly, we actually had to get on planes and go to a lot of places where people were because it was like `I'll meet with you if you show up at the Des Moines airport and we'll meet behind the cookie counter.' And there were a lot of people that basically said no I don't want to talk you. This time already there is a list of 20-25 people that have reached out to us. At least five of those people are people that we asked to talk to last time that said no."
On who is in charge of the football team in the interim:
"The coaches all have responsibility. This is sort of a hiatus for the [team]. They have workouts to do and trying to get back into the classroom. The coaching staff is intact until they say otherwise. We'll try to get a head coach in here as soon as we can."
On what the next coaches' background needs to be, head coach or coordinator:
"I think the most important thing to get is a good person, who will be a good head coach. James Franklin was never a head coach before we hired him, Tim Corbin was not a head coach before we hired him and I think we did pretty good with them. It's not what they were yesterday, it's what they'll be tomorrow."
Junior DE Kyle Woestmann
On the team's reaction:
"Everybody is trying to be respectful and positive about the coaching change. A lot of guys respect and have been truly pleased with what he's done for our program. Vice Chancellor Williams did a great job picking Coach Franklin and this time they'll find someone even better than him. Our plan as a team hasn't changed.
On the change:
"The opportunity and education that you get from this university never changes. Whether it's Coach Franklin that's here or someone else that will always be a constant. That's the biggest part about it. It hasn't changed, being a great SEC program and get one of the best educations in the country."
On changes in the entire coaching staff:
"Who ever [Vice Chancellor Williams] decides to bring in this team is going to dedicate ourselves to [the new coach] and whether he decides to keep [coaches] or bring in a new staff we still have the same goals as a team."