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. Notafballfan

    What an idiot! It's not just that he said it, it's that he thought it. He assumes his idea of a desirable wife is every coach's ideal wife. Maybe the one he considers "hot" looks like a trashy bimbo to another guy. Maybe, now– this is a long shot– maybe one of those potential asst. coaches chose his wife based on other attributes. Ok that's crazy, who would do that? But if so, how is Franklin going to size that up with a quick look? It probably takes more nerve for these guys to walk up to a smart chick than a bimbo.

    June 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LMAO

    i guess this explains why vanderbilt has sucked in football for so many years.

    LOL.

    their academic reputation obviously doesn't extend to their athletic department.

    June 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. orlop

    What if "the woman of your dreams" is considered by the coach to be plain or ugly looking....you don't get a job?

    June 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pattie O

    While the remark may have been right for the locker rooms, it wasn't right for a coach. The coach is supposed to be the "father," not just another one of the players. Even if meant to be funny, it wasn't. I wonder what his wife thought about it.

    June 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kirik Jenness

    I like this coach's style. He's an okay guy in my book.

    June 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rft

    The guy is obviously an idiot. But why is that news?

    June 4, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. Navy Jag

    He sounds like a sleazy used car salesman. Greasy.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Army JAG

      I always knew the Navy JAG Corps was lame

      June 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. adam nelson

    this is dumb and not news worthy....doesnt marginalize anyone and Im sure he meant it!
    Someones confidence is about the best indicator they can get the job done. Are we really this ridiculously PC now

    June 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Preoccupied

      Hear, hear. We're talking football here, not politics or education. I think his approach makes a lot of sense, even if he should have kept it to himself because of all this inevitable backlash. But in terms of his reasoning? Absolutely sound.

      June 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rex Riley

    This is why I don't let my son play tackle football: too many hits to the head leave you mush-brained and prone to saying stupid things.

    June 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alyssa

      It's the Y chromosome that does that, more than repeated hits to the head.

      June 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. stuck in AFG

    Yawn... who cares. If you heard the actual conversation, the quote is completely taken out of context. It makes sense that the school would issue an apology to get all of the uber PC folks off their back, but at the end of the day, how does this even make the news? It would be nice if Americans stopped worrying about being so politically correct to the point of absurdity... at some point there will be an uncomfortable backlash by most middle class Americans against this type of PCness ad infinitem. I am alreadywell past tired of it.

    June 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jorge washinsen

    another good example there is too much mouth leeway on the social sights.Can't take back what has been said from a junk distributor which is brainless and knows only what it is told by another brainless rep.

    June 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. momo0828

    Hey everybody makes mistakes. This guy just made a really bad one.

    June 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sachmo

    Thankfully, not all beautiful women need an egomaniac as a companion, but then again maybe some like it. I just would not want my coach verbally expressing it, some people make fools of themselves when a microphone is placed in front of them.

    June 5, 2012 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Big Dawg

    Some of you would have felt better if he said he only wants coaches with a tank ass for a wife because they know how to talk to big people and get them to commit to them. Then they would have the best O-line and D-line in the country. Our sense of humor in this country is pathetic. Funny how the first thing thought of is lawsuits.

    June 5, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • chefdugan

      Remember, this is Vanderbilt. Not exactly a football power so they need all the help they can get in recruiting. Now what their wives look like could certainly attract Bobby Pertrino and I hear he is available. As for me, I would just hire the wife and have the husband as a counselor to her. There is NOTHING as nice as a beautiful woman.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jo

      No, he just should have kept his ignorant mouth shut. Anyone stupid enough to let loose something that quick (Which means it's what you really think) on public radio, is the one who should be wearing the helmut.

      June 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Southern Guy

    I hate to break this to Franklin, but in regards to being "hot", he should look in the mirror – he's not exactly GQ material, himself...

    June 5, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
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