June 1st, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Vanderbilt football coach in hot water over comment on assistants' wives

Vanderbilt University head football James Franklin is playing defense today after comments this week that he looks for assistant coaches based on how attractive their wives are, not on their experience.

Here's what he said on 104.5-FM "The Zone" in Nashville on Wednesday concerning his assistant coach hiring criteria.

"His wife, if she looks the part and she's a D-I recruit, then you've got a chance to get hired. That's part of the deal," Franklin said, according to CNN affiliate WSMV.

"There's a very strong correlation between having the confidence and going up and talking to a woman, and being quick on your feet and having some personality and confidence and being articulate, than it is walking into a high school and recruiting a kid and selling them."

University Vice Chancellor of Athletics David Williams threw a yellow flag on Franklin on Thursday, according to a report in The Tennessean.

"He clearly made a mistake. And clearly, what he said is not how he feels and not how we feel,” Williams told the paper.

Williams quickly backtracked on Twitter.

"My foot doesn't taste good, I hope I did not offend any1, I love & respect," he tweeted. "Attempt at humor obviously fell a few yds short."

"If a man can convince the women of his dreams 2 marry him, he can probably do just about anything, that type of confidence along w/coaching skills is what I am looking 4.

"As a husband & father of 2 daughters I regret the way I conveyed my message!" he tweeted.

Williams told Franklin that kind of humor is not appreciated at the Southeastern Conference school.

“He said he was really in a joking mode, if you like, and didn’t mean all of that. And I explained that’s a thing you don’t even joke about," The Tennessean quoted Williams as saying.

He stressed that spousal looks were not among the attributes Vanderbilt looks for in employees.

"Clearly his comments do not reflect the values and hiring practices of Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt Athletics or Vanderbilt Football," Williams said in a statement on the school's website.

Vanderbilt had a record of 6 wins, 7 losses in 2011, his first season as head coach at the school.

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Filed under: College football • Football • Sports • Tennessee
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Mitch

    Its Vanderbilt football, who cares...

    June 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill C

    PC Mania strikes again. It was a joke, folks.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nolongerarepublican

    I see no one in the US can take a joke.
    We are fubar.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nolongerarepublican

    I should reserve comment until the nude calendar of the wives comes out.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jay G

    Sounds like smart hiring to me if you're looking for recruiters. Good lord this country has become such a nation of wussies and political correct hussies.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Do a Study

    Do a study. I imagine one would find a correlation between how successful a man is and how attractive is spouse is. There isn't necessarily a causal relationship, but there is a relationship. Failures, like me, not only settled in our careers, but settled in our relationships.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Captain Obvious

    the problem was no one seemed to know whether or not he was joking. including him.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    " And clearly, what he said is not how he feels ..." Hahahaha. Clearly!!

    God, I need a spokesperson.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Allen

    Sounds like a compliment to me!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Timmytown

    Talking to hot women = being able to recruit well

    Yep – sounds like the logic of a person that leads a football team. Macho stupidity. Ask him if wants to hire a guy that can calculate a differential equation with confidence, and he'll wonder what the heck you're talking about.

    Still amazes me how often we want to call football coaches geniuses because they are good at motivating muscle-heads...and how often we put people involved in sports on giant pedestals as though they are super human.

    It's no wonder our country is falling behind in every important educational category...

    You're country might be smarter than us, and you might be taking all of our jobs away from us because you are advancing faster than we are....but we can kick your butt in FOOTBALL!!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iowegion

      You said it.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Drew

    What people need to understand is that these were the words of an employer. And saying something that indicates hiring decisions are made based on the physical attractiveness of the candidate's wife is totally out of bounds in any HR environment. Doesn't matter if it's college football or IBM. You don't do it. It's called employment discrimination and it's not acceptable. In some cases, it's illegal and the university could be held accountable for it. Just really a dumb thing for Franklin to say publicly.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iowegion

      Woww, some intelligence in the room. thanks.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Anonymous

    Sure. It happens all the time. "What I say is 'not' what I feel". NOT!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Christine

    Can you see Russia from there?

    June 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • TooFar

      I don't think so. Why?

      June 20, 2012 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. justwrong1

    Coach is Still a TOOL and let's add Liar, Take A Close Look, It's Obvious He Is Shallow.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ProperVillain

    "He clearly made a mistake. And clearly, what he said is not how he feels and not how we feel,”

    According to his quote he clearly DOES feel that way. Tool...

    June 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
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