Franklin sheds light on traits of potential hires

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- James Franklin was at the AFCA Convention this week in Charlotte, a usual stop for the Nittany Lions' head coach and really everyone else in his line of work.

It's the place where Franklin regularly meets with other coaches who he hopes will one day round out his own staff and the place where graduate assistants and up and coming coaches have a chance to pick his brain along with everyone else who attends. While Franklin likely did some of his own information gathering while there looking for a running backs coach, he was also there to share his expertise.

Franklin was a panelist during the Graduate Assistant Career Forum and per Zach Barnett of FootballScoop.com who was there to report on the panel, Franklin had quite a few interesting remarks about his profession, what he's looking for in potential hires and how he deals with a work-life balance that he's said several times this past season doesn't exist.

"Be authentic. Be true to who you are," Franklin said to the panel when asked what he's looking for in graduate assistants. "I love people who are comfortable in their own skin, people who own who they are. My DFO is a complete weirdo, but he owns it. He’s constantly challenging me by sliding business and leadership articles under my door. I’m a complete psychopath. I have to own that. David Shaw is a great friend of mine; I can’t be stoic like David Shaw, I have to be a psychopath. If you’re a South Florida guy, a Northeast guy, own that. What’s going to make you special is what God intended you to be in the first place."

It's no secret Franklin like all coaches obsesses over every last detail of his program, but he's mentioned many times before how he likes being around people who own who they are. Him going 110 miles per hour 24/7 is how he's always been.

How coaches make hiring decisions is always fascinating because sometimes they have connections, other times they don't, but when it comes to hiring graduate assistants Franklin is going to rely on those he knows rather than what a list of accomplishments contains.

"Your resume means nothing," he said. "I’ve never looked at a resume, ever. Your references mean nothing. I’m not calling your references, I’m calling the people that I know. I’m not working with someone 16-to-17 hours a day if I don’t know them or someone that I trust knows them."

Other highlights from the panel:

• Franklin on trying to have a work-life balance: "When I worked in the NFL, families weren’t allowed to the offices. I’ve worked at places where they said it was a family environment but it really wasn’t. My wife and kids are at the office almost every day. I’ll be honest with you, I have Coach Guilt. I don’t spend enough time with my wife. I don’t spend enough time with my kids. There isn’t balance. I do think my daughters gain something from this, being raised in an environment that values education, that gives them 125 role models."

• One of the benefits of being an assistant coach as opposed to a head coach is having more time with a specific group of players and getting to know them extremely well as opposed to have 125 players who realistically you can't know everything about. Franklin and other other panelists were asked about how to best instill discipline in players for those who are new assistant coaches.

"I want high production and low maintenance," Franklin said. "I know how many infractions each room had, how many the quarterbacks had and how many the d-line had. That’s part of how I evaluate. Guys that are getting raises are the ones that had high production and the lowest amounts of missed classes. I want to empower our guys to be the head coach of their room."

So those class checks could help make or break the assistant's paycheck.

The full story from FootballScoop.com can be found here.


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