When Pat Haden, athletic director at USC, decided to make a change in his football program early Sunday morning, the rumors about a replacement for fired head coach Lane Kiffin began. And while Haden is likely to not show his hand during the search process, the media will speculate as to who should be the new coach for the Trojans.
One name that certainly should be on the list is James Franklin, head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores. During his two-plus years in Nashville, Franklin has turned around a program that was almost always at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference. In his first year, Franklin took the ‘Dores to the Liberty Bowl, which they lost to the Cincinnati Bearcats, finishing 6-7 on the season.
In 2012, Vanderbilt reached heights that had not been achieved in the program in over 100 years. Vandy won nine games, finishing 9-4, and the ‘Dores won the Music City Bowl by beating N.C. State 38-24. Vanderbilt finished the season ranked in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls, which is not a common occurrence in the Vandy program.
Franklin has also done an outstanding job on the recruiting trail, bringing in nationally-ranked classes despite the university’s tough academic regulations.
This season, Vanderbilt is 3-2 heading into this weekend’s game against the Missouri Tigers. Should Vandy reach the six-win plateau again this season, the Commodores would play in a bowl game for the third straight season, something that has never before been done at the school.
All of this success will certainly have Haden taking a look at Franklin. Whether he decides to pursue the Vandy head man remains to be seen, but for all he’s done in Nashville, Franklin is certainly worth a look.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.
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