The Penn Stater — Jan. 13, 2014
New semester, new coach, new era: Students are back in class today for the start of the Spring 2014 semester, but they’re not the only ones settling in to a new workload. And you can bet James Franklin was up earlier than most of them. Per @PennStateFball, the Nittany Lions’ 16th head football coach followed up a very busy weekend by getting to his new office by 5 a.m. today.
If you’re just now catching up on news of Franklin’s hiring, you can read our weekend recap of his introductory press conference here. For broader perspective, a few links worth checking out:
* Franklin’s busy weekend included Saturday’s press conference and photo ops and continued Sunday with appearances at the women’s volleyball banquet, the wrestling meet, and the Lady Lion basketball game. GoPSUSports has video.
* Local fan and media reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and while a handful of national columnists reacted with skepticism and scorn, most outside the Penn State community have nothing but praise for the hire. ESPN’s Ivan Maisel has some good perspective on this one, while the network’s Big Ten reporter, Adam Rittenberg, weighs the risks and rewards of Franklin’s hire.
* Franklin’s reputation as an ace recruiter is understandably getting a lot of attention. The should be very good news for Penn State, and as a couple of writers familiar with his previous jobs point out, temporarily very bad for Vanderbilt, and indefinitely awful for Maryland.
A really B1G show: Some great Penn State stories are featured on tonight’s episode of “BTN Live BIG,” airing at 11 p.m. Eastern on the Big Ten Network. The university’s nationally respected ability athletics program is highlighted, as is the work of David Hughes, the biologist whose fascinating research into “zombie ants” we’ve featured in the magazine. If you can’t stay up for it, set your DVR.
What’s in a (domain) name? If you’ve got $4,583 burning a hole in your pocket, you can bid on the rights to PennState.com. That’s the reported starting bid for the URL, which the university recently allowed to expire. The university’s home page, of course, is psu.edu.)
Closer to take-off: We’ve told you all about Penn State’s Lunar Lion team. The latest update from the (hopefully) moon-bound team? They recently tested their rocket engines, and happily, “everything went as planned.”
Ryan Jones, senior editor