James Franklin Tapped as Penn State Head Football Coach

Nittany Lions still under NCAA sanctions following Sandusky scandal

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Butch Dill / AP

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin celebrates with Vanderbilt team as he dances on the sideline during the second half of the BBVA Compass Bowl NCAA college football game on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, in Birmingham, Ala.

Penn State has hired James Franklin as head coach of its football program, which was racked by scandal in 2011 when the team’s defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on 40 counts of child abuse.

The six-year, $4.5 million-per-year deal was approved Saturday morning, CBS Sports reports. Franklin is taking over the head coach spot from Bill O’Brien, who guided the Penn State team through two years of strict NCAA sanctions — including a freeze on scholarships, bowl ban, and player defections — following the Sandusky scandal, with a 15-9 record. O’Brien replace longtime and legendary coach Joe Paterno, who died in 2012 just weeks after he was fired.

Franklin had been the coach of Vanderbilt College’s football squad since December 2010, and is largely credited with turning the team around, with a 6-7 debut season followed by an 18-8 record for the last two seasons.

[CBS Sports]