Finally. We've been subjected to days worth of will he, won't he, will he, won't he, will he, won't he, and all of it is little more than anonymous sources coming from a guy who was wrong two out of the three times he reported something on the subject. Now, finally, we get someone saying that James Franklin (probably) will be the next head coach at Vanderbilt, and that someone isn't an anonymous source: it's Ralph Friedgen. (via Dinich)
"I'm anticipating [James Franklin's hire at Vanderbilt]," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "I talked to him this morning, but it hadn't been finalized. Life goes on. I wish him the best of luck. I think he did a great job for us. I congratulated him. I've got to see what the fallout is and go from there."
For the record, Jeff Barker came out with a similar report and some confirmation: Vanderbilt is talking to Franklin and wants to hire him, while he wants to be hired by Vanderbilt, but there is no deal yet.
So no, it's not finalized, but I don't see Friedgen making this statement (or any statement, really) unless it was near completion. Unless something goes wrong at the negotiating table, this one looks just about cooked. And if anybody would know about this (besides the three or four Vanderbilt people making the decision and James Franklin himself), it'd be Ralph.
And now that I think about it, he doesn't sound too heartbroken about it, either. Probably has to do with that contract extension thing.
All that said, I think everyone can finally exhale a little bit. Franklin, for better or worse, is just about out of the building, and we finally have a) someone on the record about it, and b) a real report from someone not named Prisbell.
More in the coming hours on the fallout and potential replacements. I'd expect an official announcement sometime tomorrow, but that's just me.