Vanderbilt still doesn’t have a football coach but it appears the university is getting closer to finalizing a deal with Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin.
According to several reports, Vanderbilt and Franklin are nearing the end of talks.
A message left on Thursday for Vice Chancellor of University Affairs and Athletics David Williams was not returned.
Vanderbilt athletics spokesperson Larry Leathers, however, said school administrators would not make an official statement Thursday night on the status of the search for its football coach.
Franklin, 38, would be the school’s first African-American head coach for a major sport. He would be Vanderbilt’s third football coach in less than six months. After eight seasons as head coach, Bobby Johnson resigned in July, just seven weeks before the season opener. Longtime assistant and offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell replaced Johnson. He went just 2-10 in his only season as a head coach and resigned the day of the final regular-season game on Nov. 27.
Franklin just finished his third season as offensive coordinator for Maryland, which went 8-4 this season and will play East Carolina in the Military Bowl. He also was Maryland’s receivers coach from 2000-04.
He then coached the wide receivers for the Green Bay Packers in 2005. From there he spent two seasons as Kansas State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before returning to Maryland.
In 2009 he was named the Terrapins’ head coach-in-waiting and is to replace Ralph Friedgen when he retires. Franklin is owed $1 million if not named head coach by January 2012.