Vanderbilt University football coach, James Franklin, is becoming pretty good for a soundbite, isn’t he? If he’s not calling out kids for their lack of honor, letting SEC coaches know how ready his team is to take on all comers, or instituting rules about his assistants only being hired if they have hot wives, then he’s targeting unborn babies for future football scholarships—yep, you heard me.
“If I see a 6-foot-6 man walking in the mall with his wife, and she’s 6-2 and she’s pregnant, I’ll go up and offer their unborn child,” Franklin said.
“I’m not exaggerating. I do that all the time. If I go to speak at an elementary school, if I’m out at a restaurant, we kind of have fun with it. It’s about developing a relationship with people. It’s about getting them connected with Vanderbilt. It’s about making people laugh and telling a story and having fun. It’s about having a sense of humor and not being some robot coach that I don’t want to be.” (Jeff Lockridge, USA Today Sports)
Clearly Franklin was just joking, as he said, the point is he wants to be the first coach Tennessee folks think of when it comes time to pledge allegiance to a team on Saturdays. He is vying for the top spot, the one the Tennessee Volunteers have owned for years, and he’s not afraid to be creative in his attempts to make that happen.
To his credit, the shenanigans have worked—no matter how asinine they’ve made him look at times—and the buzz around the Vanderbilt football program has been louder over the last three years than it has been in a long time…or ever for that matter.
That said, their biggest rival (Tennessee) is rebuilding and rebranding under the direction of new head coach Butch Jones, and many figure it’s only a matter of time before Franklin is forced to truly recognize his team’s place as No. 2 in the state.
Until then, however, Franklin has his anchor down and he’s made it clear he’s not going anywhere.