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. Justin

    he is right..what is the big deal? if you're man enough to walk up to a 10 and talk to her, instead of leering at her in the corner and cowering with whatever scraps of dignity you have left, than yes you obviously show a heightened sense of confidence and problem solving ability. Moreover you respond better under pressure. Sound like necessary characteristics for coaching to me.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • KAS

      Right, because walking up to a woman and talking to her correlates to why you can't figure out why you're line isn't picking up blitzes or is letting the runner gain 10+ yards per carry.

      June 1, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Nice attempt at a rescue by paraphrasing – what he said was, if you can score a hot woman, you can probably also score with a prospective player – disturbing!!

      June 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny

      what if you aren't attracted to women with Ds ( I assume he meant boobs) or if you are gay or just not that interested in women? Confidence amy be related to being a good coach, but a love of women is not. A silly mistake to say and I don't think he meant harm, but not a smart comment.

      June 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Has everyone forgotten how to properly punctuate a sentence? And, yes, it is important.

      June 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Razorminn

      Franklin is too good of a coach for Vandy anyway. This just makes it easier for him to bail on them after the end of next season. Someone just needs to sack up and tell all of the hypersensitive wusses to f-off. I laughed when I read his comments. They're funny, b/c there is a lot of truth in them.

      June 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bubba™

    Gawd, what a bozo. They need to forget to rehire him.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rob

    And we these comments as serious and not joking banter because..... ? Come on America, buck up.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. yup!

    ... especially if the wives are willing to help recruit players with BBD.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat (in a hat)©,

    H&G time

    Two dumb fishermen decided to rent a boat on a lake. After fishing for hours at various spots and catching nothing, they decided to try one more time before calling it quits. Suddenly, fish started biting and they caught their limit inside of 20 minutes.

    "Hey, we should mark this spot so next time we'll know where to fish," the first man told his buddy.

    "Good idea," the second man replied, taking out a can of spray paint and making a large X on the floor of the boat.

    "Why'd you do that?" his friend asked.

    "Now anyone who rents this boat will know where to fish."

    June 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©,

      Excuse me, that's supposed to be HS&G time

      June 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Stash

    I can see both ways how this can be disregarded & offending. But one thing that is clear is that this is beyond unprofessional & disrespectful to say openly to the public. People are allowed to say things & state personal opinions behind closed doors, but you have to have that level of awareness when you are in a position that he is in. Especially knowing how open the media & public conveys words now, just a bad decision overall of words. Interested Assistant coaches should be aware with future endeavors with this guy...he could possibly be checking out your wife.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RuRu

    And I wonder what the current wives look like? If they are all hot, then he was most likely not joking and that really was part of the criteria for being hired.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • background

      That would be totally hilarious if he said something like, "Hey I was just joking, look at all of the assistant's wives today, I mean.. their totally dogs. I wouldn't hit that with a stick!"

      June 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    He really needs to watch what he says..

    -Ozzie Guillen

    June 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. fearlessdude

    I like hot women. Don't you?

    June 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jenny

    As a feminist woman, I'm not offended by this. If he'd said, yeah, I hire assistants with hot wives to entertain me, then it would be a problem. But he made a valid point, which is that the confidence and drive to go after what you want translates from one arena to another. Having said that, I think the comment earlier, about whether that's SUFFICIENT to qualify you as an assistant coach, may be apropos. But the comment itself, and the premise underneath it, isn't offensive to me at all.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rufus

    He was insensitive to the GLBT community and should have to hire a couple of gay coaches to show his appreciation of diversity Sheesh. Can't he get with the program?

    June 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wwrrd

    He should not have back tracked. He was right. Guys that have alpha females have many traits that it takes to be a good coach. Shouldn't be only consideration, but a good indicator.

    People are too freaking PC.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. snowdogg

    Much ado about nothing.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. paul

    lightened up world. are we this sensitive?

    June 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iowegion

      This is what this sports crap has come to.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mitch

    The coach speaks the truth!

    June 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iowegion

      He may speak the truth, opens his mouth and proves his ignorance.

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