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James Franklin Named Big Ten Coach of the Year

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The Nittany Lion head coach was honored by the league after winning the Big Ten East.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

When BTN asked James Franklin for some words immediately after he was named the media pick’s 2016 Dave McClain Coach of the Year, he responded immediately with the words “This is a team award”.

How very James Franklin, and Penn State, in 2016.

After starting the season 2-2, and getting the “dreaded vote of confidence” from Athletic Director Sandy Barbour to end September, Franklin’s done nothing less than lead his team, still comprised mostly of underclassmen, to eight straight wins and a berth in the Big Ten Championship game this weekend in Indianapolis.

Franklin got a lot a flack from many in the PSU community after his first two seasons (going 7-6 in each), and the offense was lackluster. When vaunted defensive coordinator Bob Shoop left alongside less-than-vaunted offensive coordinator John Donovan and offensive line coach Herb Hand, it was a chance for CJF to make statement hires, and make his mark in Happy Valley.

Boy, did he, hiring the revolutionary Joe Moorhead, promoting Brent Pry from within (a decision met with some skepticism at its outset, but more recently has had fans asking Shoop who?) and bringing on Matt Limegrover from Minnesota. More than just the stellar recruiter he’s always been, Franklin proved he has his thumb on what can make a good team great.

Congratulations, Coach Franklin! Here’s to an extension.