About a year ago not too many people knew who James Franklin was. We knew he was the "head coach-in-waiting" at Maryland and that he was an offensive coach. That was about it.
Well after today, EVERYONE knows who James Franklin is. The administration, the fan base, the Nashville community...and other Universities.
Well those other schools will need to look elsewhere for their newest coach, because Vanderbilt has gone "All In" with James Franklin.
Vice Chancellor David Williams (who is flat out awesome) announced that the University has torn up James Franklin's old contract and has agreed to a new contract with a substantially higher amount of compensation for the coach. In addition, the University has committed to substantial stadium improvements, including a new jumbotron and new turf, and the construction of a brand-new, state of the art, indoor practice facility. When asked how much the new facility would cost, Williams stated, "Whatever it takes."
That kind of committment has never been demonstrated by Vanderbilt in the history of the football program. Vice Chancellor Williams was asked repeatedly about that, and Williams deflected it each and every time. "I don't care why we didn't do it in the past. We're going to build the damn thing," he stated.
Coach Franklin also harped on the direction of the program and the committment of his staff to building something special at Vanderbilt. He alluded to the fact that when you have success, people are going to be calling about your assistants. Apparently, some of the assistants have received such calls...and have turned them down.
What we have here Vandy Nation is a loud and clear message that "Same Old Vanderbilt" is done, at any cost. It's also not a situation where the University and the Coaching Staff are going to settle for .500. It's a situation where we're going to shoot for championships, in the toughest conference in college football. And you know something? WHY THE HELL NOT?! I for one am pretty sick of all these other SEC schools, with their large student bodies and traditions, evaluating us based on our prior failures. Facts are facts: we alums have received incredible educations. Our research facilities and faculty are off the charts. Why shouldn't players want to come here? Why shouldn't we have stand-out athletics? Why shouldn't we go tell fans of every other SEC school who come into Vanderbilt Stadium in droves "Sorry, we're sold out!" Unless you're spineless, you absolutely should want a competitive and thriving football program, because frankly competition is as American as apple pie.
And that brings my to my biggest point, and Franklin's challenge to us as a fan base: We have to go "All-in" as well. Because really, the only thing that is more laughable than our past is the support of the fan base.
So, VSL Nation, I say this to you. Let's get to that damn bowl game. Let's sell it out, let's be loud, and let's show our compatriots who laugh about our school by the water coolers just how inferior their institutions are to our great alma mater. Because frankly, that's what the University, Coach Franklin, the coaching staff, and most importantly, the kids, deserve.
Stanimal is All-In.
(*Note: The NCC is also a direct way to ensure that the future of Vanderbilt football remains bright, because as Vice Chancellor Williams said, "We're going to need money to make this happen." You can give by clicking here.)