Feb. 6, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland assistant head coach/offensive coordinator James Franklin has been named the eventual successor to head coach Ralph Friedgen, director of athletics Deborah A. Yow announced Friday.
One of the top, young coaches in the nation, Franklin has experience at all levels of collegiate football and in the professional ranks. He has served as an assistant for five of Friedgen's eight seasons in College Park.
"James has been a very valuable asset to our program," Friedgen said. "This hopefully ensures his longevity at Maryland. He shares the same philosophy of Debbie and me, and similar values of Dr. (C.D.) Mote and the University. This will help us have a smoother transition when I decide to leave. From a recruiting and staffing standpoint this makes a lot of sense.
"James and his family are at a place they want to be. It's a good marriage for everyone."
Franklin, 37, has spent the better part of this decade on the Maryland staff. He served as the wide receivers coach from 2000 to 2004, which included Friedgen's first four seasons. During that time, Franklin established himself as one of the nation's top recruiters. In 2003, he was promoted to recruiting coordinator and helped deliver back-to-back classes that were ranked among the nation's top 25 by several prominent recruiting outlets.
Rivals.com ranked Franklin as one of the nation's top 25 recruiters for two consecutive years while at Maryland. Rivals.com again tapped him as one of the top 25 recruiters this past season.
"James Franklin is a winner in every sense of the word," Yow said. "He has great organizational skills, outstanding integrity and an outstanding work ethic. He is smart, has a strong commitment to excellence and is a relentless recruiter -- known widely as one of the top recruiters in the nation. James also has a personal passion for Terrapin Football.
"When Ralph steps down, the transition will be seamless. In the meantime, James will continue to work under the leadership of one of the finest people to ever coach the game. This is truly a dynamic combination."
Franklin returned to Maryland last season after spending two years as offensive coordinator at Kansas State and one season with the Green Bay Packers.
In 2007 under Franklin's direction, K-State's ranked 20th nationally in passing offense (285.4 yards per game) and 21st in scoring offense (35.2 points per game).
Franklin's offense also had a record-breaking campaign that year as the Wildcats had a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,500-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard rusher in a single season for the first time in school history.
Prior to his time in Manhattan, Kan., he was the wide receivers coach at Green Bay for the 2005 season where he worked with receivers Donald Driver, Javon Walker and Robert Ferguson, as well as record-setting quarterback Brett Favre.
"I'm excited to continue to work for two of the most respected individuals in college athletics in Debbie Yow and my mentor, Ralph Friedgen. They have given me the opportunity to work at one of the best academic institutions in the country.
"I couldn't be happier to continue my career here and help Ralph and Debbie continue to build Maryland into one of the elite programs in the country. I'd like to thank the high school coaches and fans in the great state of Maryland and the District of Columbia for all their support over the years."
Prior to his first stint at Maryland, Franklin rose quickly through the coaching ranks, making stops at five different schools in five years. He received his start in coaching at Kutztown University in 1995 as the program's receivers coach before returning to his alma mater, East Stroudsburg University, in 1996 as a graduate assistant and secondary coach.
He spent the 1997 season at James Madison before receiving his first coaching assignment at a BCS conference school as the graduate assistant in charge of tight ends at Washington State for the 1998 season. Franklin then moved on to Idaho State in 1999 where he served as the wide receivers coach.
A native of Langhorne, Pa., Franklin began his pro experience at this time, serving NFL minority coaching internships with the Miami Dolphins (1998) and Philadelphia Eagles (1999). Last summer he served an internship with the Minnesota Vikings.
A four-year letterman as a quarterback at East Stroudsburg from 1991-94, Franklin was a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference selection. As a senior in 1994, he garnered team MVP honors and was a Harlon Hill nominee for Division II Player of the Year.
As of today, Franklin would become one of just two African-American head coaches at a BCS Conference school (also Randy Shannon, Miami). Overall there are currently only seven African-American head coaches at Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
What They're Saying About Franklin:
"James is an outstanding football coach who possesses the requisite traits to one day become a terrific head college coach. He has a solid combination of passion, desire and work ethic which helps in recruiting, coaching and retaining young football players. The University of Maryland got it right with this guy."
- Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons general manager
"James had that head-coaching mentality when I first met him. People want to follow him. He is organized and detailed. He's a guy you want to work for and work with. He's bright, young and talented. He knows how to recruit and can formulate a game plan. He has it all. I'm excited for James and his family."
- Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach
"James Franklin worked for me while I was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. He came into our organization in the offseason and within a short period of time became very knowledgeable in what we were doing and how we were doing it. Also in that same time frame, he established an excellent rapport with his players. In making the jump from the college game to the NFL, Coach Franklin certainly did not display any angst in the process. He was extremely confident and believed in himself and what he was doing. I am sure he benefitted from being on Coach Ralph Friedgen's offensive staff for (four) seasons before becoming a Green Bay Packer. With the success Coach Friedgen has established with the program at Maryland, I know James certainly has big shoes to fill whenever Coach Friedgen retires, but I know James Franklin will hit the ground running and work diligently towards adding toward the future success of the University of the Maryland football program. He is a good X's and O`s football coach who cares about players and will recruit well. He will be successful."
- Mike Sherman, Texas A&M (and former Green Bay Packer) head coach
"James Franklin and I go back quite a ways, and I can tell you he's a class person. He's hard-working, he's enthusiastic and he's a great leader. He genuinely cares about people. I'm sure the University of Maryland will be proud to have a person of his caliber as their next football coach."
- East Stroudsburg head coach Denny Douds (Franklin's former college coach)
"I'm really happy for Coach Franklin. He's worked really hard to get to where he is. He's moved his way up the coaching chain. Coach brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to our team. He's young and energetic, and he sometimes even gets in on the drills with the guys. I definitely need to call him and congratulate him."
- Former Maryland offensive linemen Edwin Williams