Penn State’s Franklin Finalist for a Pair of National Coach of the Year Honors

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State head coach James Franklin is among the finalists for a pair of National Coach of the Year honors. The third-year Penn State head coach is one of three finalists for AP National of the Year and is one of nine finalists for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award.

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The AP Coach of the Year will be announced on Thursday, while the “Bear” Bryant winner will be selected on Jan. 11, 2017. This is Franklin’s second time as a finalist for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award. He was a finalist for the honor in 2012, which Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien won.

Previously, Franklin was named the Sporting News National Coach of the Year. He is the second Penn State head coach to win the honor, joining Joe Paterno, who claimed the award in 2005. He was also selected as the College Sports Madness National Coach of the Year. Additionally, he is a finalist for the 2016 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award as presented by the Football Writers Association of America.

Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to their first Big Ten Championship since 2008 and fourth overall (1994, 2005, 2008). He led the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten East title, its second divisional title (2011). Franklin guided the Lions to a No. 5 ranking in the CFP, Associated Press and Amway Coaches polls, the highest ranking for the Nittany Lions since 2009.

At 11-2, Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to their sixth 11-win season since Penn State joined the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are riding a nine-game winning streak, which is the program’s longest since 2009. Penn State finished 8-1 in Big Ten play, marking the second eight-win conference season in program history to join the 1994 team that went 8-0.

The third-year head coach has earned Big Ten Coach of the Year from the Associated Press and the conference’s media. Franklin’s Dave McLain Big Ten Coach of the Year marks the fifth time a Penn State head coach has won the honor, joining Paterno (1994, 2005, 2008) and Bill O’Brien (2012).

Franklin and the Nittany Lions are heading to the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on Monday, January 2 at 5 p.m. (ET). This mark’s Penn State’s first appearance in the “Granddaddy of Them All” for the first time since the 2009 game. Franklin has guided his team to a bowl berth in each of his six seasons as a head coach, making him one of 12 active FBS coaches to do so.

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