Franklin announces initial hires
Jan. 13, 2011
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NASHVILLE - New Vanderbilt Head Football Coach James Franklin announced his initial Commodore staff additions Thursday, including six offensive coaches and key conditioning and administration hires.
Franklin also lured two other former key Maryland staffers as the Vanderbilt football program's newest strength director and chief of staff.
"I'm extremely pleased to make this announcement today," Franklin said. "All of these coaches want to be part of something really special. When I called, many of them said yes without even talking about money and titles. They simply want to help turn this program into a success."
John Donovan, running backs coach at Maryland and playcaller during the Terps' impressive 51-20 Military Bowl victory over East Carolina, will serve as offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Vanderbilt. Chris Beatty, coming off an impressive tenure at West Virginia, will coach Commodore wide receivers. Another former Maryland assistant, Charles Bankins, will double as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator. A former Franklin associate at Kansas State, Ricky Rahne, will mentor Commodore quarterbacks, while Herb Hand was retained from the past Vanderbilt staff as offensive line coach.
Franklin also announced two other key staff decisions, selecting veteran Maryland football strength director Dwight Galt in the same capacity with the Commodores and former Maryland football operations director Jemal Griffin as the program's chief of staff.
Franklin also retained four former Vanderbilt staffers: Michael Hazel as director of operations; Andy Frank, assistant director of operations; former Commodore running back Norval McKenzie; and offensive graduate assistant coach Joey Orck.
Franklin said an announcement on the full Commodore defensive staff should come in the near future.
Franklin, as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Donovan and Bankins helped Maryland to a 9-4 record last season. The Terps' offensive attack was one of the best in team history, ranking third in the Atlantic Coast Conference by averaging 32.2 points per game. The unit, directed by Franklin pupil, ACC Rookie of the Year and Freshman All-American Danny O'Brien at quarterback, featured a balance attack, averaging 138.2 rushing yards and 214.7 passing yards.
The 2010 Maryland offense was among the highest scoring in Terp history. The unit scored more than 50 points agains three opponents, including 62 points in a victory over ACC foe Wake Forest. In the season finale, the Commodore scored just 13 in a loss to the Demon Deacons.
Maryland's offense also ranked among the nation's most efficient in 2010, helping Maryland rank sixth nationally in turnover margin by committing just 14 miscues during the season.
Donovan's two top running backs last year, Davin Meggett and Da'Rel Scott, each rushed for more than 700 yards. In 2008, Donovan's first coaching running backs, Scott enjoyed a breakout campaign with 1,133 rushing yards enroute to first team All-ACC recognition.
Two of Donovan's products at Maryland, Scott and quarterback Sam Hollenbach, earned Most Valuable Player honors after Terrapin postseason bowl victories.
The relationship between Franklin and Rahne dates back five years when Rahne served as an offensive graduate assistant at Kansas State, working closely with Franklin, the Wildcats' quarterback coach. Both helped mentor a young Josh Freeman into into one of the nation's top quarterbacks and, eventually, a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As West Virginia's running backs and slot receivers coach for the last three years, Beatty mentored fleet-footed back Noel Devine, who surpassed 4,000 career rushing yards for the Mountaineers, and WVU's all-time leading receiver, Jock Sanders. Beatty also was considered one of the nation's top recruiters while serving as the Mountaineers' recruiting coordinator.
While Bankins groomed Maryland tight ends, he also earned a tremendous reputation for special teams production. Last year, punt returner Tony Logan earned first team All-ACC honors, ranking third in the NCAA by averaging 18.8 yards per return. In 2009, another Bankins' standout, Torrey Smith, set the ACC single-season kickoff return yards mark for the second straight season, and finished his career as the all-time Terrapin leader with 2,983 kickoff return yards and 5,264 all-purpose yards.
Hand is the lone Vanderbilt holdover on offense. A first-year coach for the Commodores in 2010, Hand arrived in Nashville after a tremendously successful tenure as offensive coordinator and line mentor at Tulsa. While working with the Hurricanes in 2008-09, Hand oversaw explosive offensive attacks that ranked among the NCAA leaders in points, total offense and rushing yards.
Galt served as Director of Strength & Conditioning at Maryland for the last 17 years, and spent a total of 27 years with the Terrapins. He began at Maryland in 1984, assisting in the preparation of Atlantic Coast Conference championship football teams in 1984 and 1985. He was named Maryland's Head Strength Coach in 1993, with responsibility for the physical preparation of 27 Terrapin intercollegiate sports - involving more than 700 student-athletes.
Griffin impressed Franklin during a five-year tenure at Maryland, including the last three years as the operations director, responsible for the daily management of the Terps' football program, including all aspects of team travel, team housing and special events.