Four months removed from a historic season, James Franklin once again made history.
Franklin became the first Vanderbilt coach named the Tennessean of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
Bill Emendorfer, the hall’s executive director, announced the honor during halftime of Saturday’s spring game. Franklin, 41, received a standing ovation from the estimated 14,000 in attendance at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Last season, his second in charge of the program, Franklin guided the Commodores to a 9-4 record and a Music City Bowl victory. The nine wins matched the school record and the most since 1915. Vanderbilt also reached consecutive bowls for the first time in program history.
Last year, former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt received the honor, which is awarded to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the state of Tennessee through sports or other areas.
Franklin will be honored at Hall of Fame’s banquet on May 4 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Nashville. He’ll also be joined by former Vanderbilt standouts and co-Male Professional Athletes of the Year David Price and Brandt Snedeker.
“The award that we got as a program today, I think that is a tremendous honor really for this whole community,” Franklin said afterwards. “People have opened their arms to us and given us a fair shot and embraced the story of what is going on at Vanderbilt. I think it is a great story for college athletics right now and college football specifically. That is a great team award and we are honored and privileged to receive it.”