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. Smako

    An assistant coach is a glorified water boy. If they have a real resume' the only deciding factor is one of the last bastions of discrimination. Last forms of legal discrimination are, ugly, poor, dumb and, hot spouses. Go ahead, try to say you have to hire someone that is ugly or sell a home to someone in an affluent neighborhood to someone that is poor.

    June 5, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. valie

    It's so sad that we take everything so literally and negatively. I got it from the time I heard and saw the comment/joke!

    June 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • CorrectingTheMorons

      You only say that because you are unattractive and unfit (or your wife is unattractive and unfit if you are a male).

      Hey – just kidding! Have a sense of humor.

      Get my point?

      June 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • BK

      That said, even if he is joking, he should have known better. People in the public eye need to have enough common sense to know how easily things are taken out of context.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sheila

    If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, who are you to judge the looks of someone else's spouse? Much less in a work enviroment.

    Franklin, If you are the parent of two daughters, do you introduce them by their breast size? Did your raise them to 'sell' their looks for marriage and their husband's careers? You have married them off yet haven't you? Cosemtic surgury can be as expensive as an university education – and at least you will finally get sons.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • boxermoma

      He was making a joke. Maybe it was distasteful but still, a joke. Get over your self.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. al

    Local/national news runs a story on man objectifing women. Where are all the fat ugly women on the news stations. "Hello kettle,this is pot calling.

    June 6, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • ldean50

      uh, fat-ugly woman here. Wanna know where we are? In ya daddy's bedroom... using our brain when we read the news. This guy was being funny and I think he was. It's not anything that HE did or said; it's really OUR devolving into being a bunch of people quick to hate and attack everybody else. turn off the reality TV when hating is entertaining.

      June 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Spongebob

    Hey whats all the fuss about, I could care less about the my asst coaches wives, it's my female assistants I care about!


    Bobby Petrino

    June 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mmeans

    Um, so this is wrong for a football coach to say, yet it is practiced regularly by politicians and upper echelon corporate executives?

    June 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Wimsy

      Who? When?

      June 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ken

    The problem is what he said is more true than many in football would admit. You can think it, you can do it, but you can never say it out loud or allow someone to record it.... When he was the head coach in waiting at Maryland, many beleived he would get the job becasued he "Looked" more like a head coach than Ralph F. In the world of SALES, how you look is the name of the game. Skills are left to the ulgy people who do the real work. But you didn't hear that from me.....

    June 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Get A Sense of Humor

    I actually understood what he was trying to say without the clarification. It's amazing people are so sensitive these days to not understand an attempt at humor.

    June 20, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    Well, are his assistant coaches' wives hot or not? That's how you find out if he was joking or not.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mabel

    Oh he meant what he said, believe it.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Winze


    June 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |

    Bye James Franklin – just sayin!

    June 21, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bird

    Based on his comments and the team record...Is that a correlation?

    June 21, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ryan

    What he said, isn't so absurd and isn't that uncommon

    I was an athlete into college, and though it wasn't my sport, I knew and had family involved in baseball in the college and minor league ranks. I have talked to scouts who talk about looking at recruits abilities but also looking at things like their girlfriends appearance, how their girlfriend talks to them, how they treat people, etc – because it indicates how easily they are influenced and their levels of confidence.

    There is some truth to his statements.

    June 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chuck

    If you saw the movie Money ball with Brad Pitt this same kind of joke was used in the movie. That was one of the scenes in the movie i laughed my butt off. I took it as a joke and I treat this similar joke as such.

    June 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
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