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. Pete

    Ugly girlfriend/wife = no confidence

    June 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Kitty

    IMrs Caoch Franklin must be so proud. She must be the hottest of them all.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. fernace

    There are way too much "comments-backwalking" going on in this country of "free speech,"! The statement from Franklin was not offensive & was given in a "tounge-in-cheek" manner! It was a "troke,"1/2 truth, 1/2 joke! I'm also a feminist & can absolutely see the correlation between the confidence to snag the spouse of your dreams & snagging the best young recruits for your team! People are much too thin skinned these days! Just imagine if all the crazy stuff people said everyday was reported: we'd all have to start wearing muzzles in order to apease the PC police! I think Vanderbilt needs to find their sense of humor!!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Michael

    He said it was a joke but his explanation was far too lucid to not have significant truth behind it. This guy runs the serious risk of that "hot" wife being as sharp as a bowling ball and unable to have her own opinion with a totalitarian husband who will be monumentally inflexible in a team environment.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jay

    I wonder if I was the only one hoping for a picture of the hot wives...

    June 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Justme2222

      Hate to admit it (not really), but I was hoping for pictures of all the ass't Vanderbilt Coaches wives.....darn, missed opportunity to see how the Coach did in picking his coaching staff.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sham13ert

    This is one of a litany of psychological profiles that are archaic in sports, but have been used for years.

    Did no one watch Moneyball? The old scouts in the room didn't want to go after a player because he wasn't dating a hot woman, meaning that his confidence was easily shaken, thus he's more likely to slump if he strikes out a couple of times.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • AmIEvil

      Actually the original discussion was that the scout discussing that a player had an ugly gf which equals bad eyesight but the director changed the script to "lack of confidence." LOL!!!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. athiest

    Guy made a joke. Grow some thicker skin America.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      I hate overreaction as much as you do and really don't care THAT much. But I am not sure most people believe that he was really joking.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality Check

      Guy is not paid to make jokes, he's paid to coach and is a representative of Vanderbilt when he is speaking as a coach. Plus the joke is only funny when you see how ugly his wife is.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    What do his assistant's wives look like now? Actually what does his wife look like?

    June 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Pete McNeal

    is James Franklin's wife super hot?

    June 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Sithy

    Sorry to post off-topic, but that chick in red on the panel is a D-I recruit.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Luther51

    He is too stupid to be coaching at the college level. Every idiotic statement is an "attempt at humor" nowadays.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Fiona

    A man who would make that's"hot wives" comment is such a narcisssist that he assumes said wife's would give him a second look.

    Or even a first.

    Franklin doesn't merit even a passing glance.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Clint

      Try reading the whole article, not just the headline.

      He was alluding the idea that the assistant coaches he would hire would have confidence because they were confident enough to approach and marry a beautiful woman.

      He made no comments whatsoever about anything going on between himself and anyone's wife.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jackie

    He said what he meant to say and how he feels. He is a creep and obviously reflects Vanderbilt's standards.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. sharky

    Ah well, I understood what he meant. LOL.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • paullubbock

      "Clearly his comments do not reflect the values and hiring practices of Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt Athletics or Vanderbilt Football,"

      Does this statement then mean Vanderbilt coaching assistants wives are dogs???

      June 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. raven

    People are way too sensitive. Also, the same people up in arms over this are probably the same people who step over the homeless guy without making eye contact with him on their way into starbucks. Every one makes judgments based on appearances.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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