Dec. 18, 2012
Houston, Texas - Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin has been named one of six finalists for the 2012 Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
In two short years, Franklin has reshaped the image of Vanderbilt football by notonly his success, but also his energy and love for the program.Armed with a tireless work ethic, contagious personality, strong leadershipand an invigorating passion for his team, Franklin has won more games in his first two years at Vanderbilt than any coach since World War I. His 8-4 squad this season has posted the most regular season wins by a Commodore squad since 1982, and closed the campaign with six straight wins.
Franklin, who guided the Commodores to their finest regular season in three decades, joins Urban Meyer of Ohio State, Penn State's Bill O'Brien, David Shaw of Stanford, Kansas State's Bill Snyder and Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M as finalists for the award, which is given by the Marathon Oil Corporation in association with the American Heart Association.
The Coach of the Year recipient will be announced at the 27th annual Bryant Awards event scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Houston.
Under Franklin, the program also will experience its first back-to-back postseason appearance on Dec. 31 when the Commodores face North Carolina State in theFranklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. Tickets still remain for the bowl, which will kickoff at 11 a.m., CT, in Nashville's LP Field.
In 2012, Franklin's Commodores also established several other milestones for the program:
- The Commodores notched five victories in Southeastern Conference play, matching the team's highest previous conference win total that dates back to 1935.
- Vanderbilt's current six-game winning streak is the longest by the Commodores since 1955 - and first such streak to close the regular season since 1948.
- Vanderbilt captured three road wins in SEC play, the most ever in a single season.
- The Commodores scored 372totalpoints, the highest Vanderbilt single-season totalsince1915. The squad also topped 40 points in five games for the first time since 1915.
- Vanderbiltenjoyed itsfirstundefeated November since 1982. Under Franklin, the Commodores are 6-2 in November: in the decade before he arrived on campus, Vanderbilt was 3-32 in November games.
- Home attendance spiked 15 percentthisseason, the highest gain in the SEC. The Commodores played before three home sellouts for the first time since 1996.
The 2012 Bryant Coach of the Year awards dinner on Jan. 17. Also will recognize former Brigham Young University Head Football Coach LaVell Edwards with the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, allowing recipients to take their place in historyalongside legends such as Bryant.Recent Lifetime Achievement recipients include Vince Dooley, Bobby Bowden and Hayden Fry.
Serving as keynote speaker at the dinner will be University of Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore.During a coaching career that spans more than three decades, Moore spent 22 years at Alabama, along with stops at Montana State, Notre Dame and the NFL's St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals. At Alabama, Moore also served seven seasons as anassistant to Bryant from 1964-1970.