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. Tyler

    He obviously believes what he said. He reiterated when he said on Twitter "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."

    He just didn't include that the woman had to be "hot" in this comment but you can see what he is saying. A guy that has the confidence to court a beautiful woman has confidence to do anything. Pretty clear to me that this "coach" thinks very little of himself and puts women on a pedestal.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. johndanger

    I can understand the point he was making. Perhaps it's a valid factor to consider in hireing. He just should have kept it to himself. Dumb play, coach. So much for a contract extension in the future.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ELH

    Seems as if coaching football at the college level often results in catching a severe case of dumbness.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sweetkimberly

    I can't imagine a female coach hiring someone on the basis of how hot their husbands are. No one would ever get hired.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sweetpeasmom

    Honestly, can we just go a week in this country without everyone jumping up and demanding an apology for something someone said in all innocence? Maybe we can have a National Day of No Offense Intended and No Apology Needed?

    Sometimes it's just too much - get over it, people. It was a funny comment and he obviously meant no disrespect.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lyn

      That is a wonderful idea! I love it. "National Day of No Offense Intended and No Apology Needed"

      June 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. InTheKnow

    His comments are not even original. This method of judging the "confidence" of a recruit was dealt with in the movie "Moneyball" as evidence of the weak and nonsensical methods that old-style baseball scouts used to judge potential talent. Just as those guys were looked upon as dinosaurs, I'm afraid Mr James is suffering the same fate. Next time, if planning to copy a technique off of a movie and pretend that it is your own, at least pick something that will make you look good.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LynnieMae

    Was he on drugs?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The reality

    Who is this guy to talk? He isn;'t gracing the cover of GQ magazine anytime soon. Go grow some hair haha!!

    June 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ExPAVic


    Football is a collision sport that requires the wearing of a helmet to help protect the brain. Obviously in your football background coach, you have played the game without a helmet.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. larry5

    The world is coming too politically correct, that is, it's becoming boring and ordinary when a man can't make an off the cuff comment.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. PortlandME1900

    Whoever is married to the women in the red dress would be hired in an instant.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stella

    Guys ho talk like this always look like something you'd wipe off the bottom of your shoe.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jason

    I would like to formally apologize to this coach on behalf of humanity that we have enough butt hurt idiots out there who think they can make this into an ethical issue. Yes, how hot your wife is can be an indicator of how good your speaking skills are. This is important for coaches who have to convince recruits to enroll at their school.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      If you marry someone primarily because of how hot she is, it can be an indicator of how shallow you are.

      June 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ronan

    I could say the same thing about being a Coach. I could say before I hire anybody I want to make sure they did not have a job as a coach. That indicates they have the intelligence of a door knob. Now what good would that do. His comments do make me wonder abut his thinking process.

    June 2, 2012 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chococoa

    C'mon. We hear this kind of clowning around on sports radio all the time. A fact is that every joke holds at least a bit of truth. Humor will make some laugh and truth will make some squirm. I think that folks are really unsure whether it's humor or truth that holds the most weight on this one. Too much truth and people get a little crazy.

    June 2, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • R.M. Goodman

      "Too much truth and people get a little crazy?" What does that mean? Franklin's remarks were out of line – period. Women are not trophies to be earned. All too often the humor rub is trotted out in order to defend remarks that are not very funny to begin with. Look no further than Rush Limbaugh. I do not wish to compare Franklin to Limbaugh but Franklin whether unknowingly or not is putting forth notions that are outdated and demeaning to both women and men.

      Good on Vanderbilt to catch this one and address it. Now I wonder how the dinosaurs of the sports and right wing punditry worlds are gonna address this issue? I would be the farm, not in an intelligent fashion.

      June 2, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • wrm

      The comments had nothing to do with women and everything to do about the men, and that's if you took his comments completely seriously, which they weren't.

      You waste so much energy trying to dissect every word because it's all you've got, it seems. Time and energy to try and find fault. The ones who are successful say absolutely nothing remarkable, just rehash the same tired cliches, because they know that there is an army of people out there who will do their best to cut & paste bits and pieces and present them as far out of context as is possible.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
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