Texas State has found its head football coach to help the Bobcats’ transition into the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Dennis Franchione, who led the Bobcats to consecutive winning seasons in 1990 and 1991, was introduced Jan. 7 as Texas State’s head football coach. The selection comes after a nationwide search with help from the Parker Executive firm following the Nov. 22 firing of Brad Wright, who was the first coach to lead Texas State to consecutive winning seasons since Franchione.
Franchione signed a five-year, $350,000 contract with winning incentives. He enters the position as the Bobcats’ last coach in the Football Championship Subdivision before Texas State joins the Western Athletic Conference in 2012. Franchione’s past experience includes head coaching stints at Alabama, Texas A&M and Texas Christian.
Athletic Director Larry Teis, who worked with Franchione at TCU, said the coach was chosen based on numerous factors, one including personal ties.
“The relationship between the athletic director and a head football coach is a marriage, so you’d better hire one of your friends and someone you can work with,” Teis said.
University Presidentbelieves Franchione is best fit to coach Texas State as it moves to the highest level of college football.
“We needed a person at the helm who knows what it means to play at the top tier,” Trauth said. “We wanted someone we could count on to guide the football program, take the story (of success) outside to the fan base and the alumni and inside to the students. Coach Franchione can do both of those things.”
Franchione feels fortunate to return to San Marcos knowing the expectations for success in the program’s transition.
“This place has had some wins under its belt,” Franchione said. “Now, Texas State is going to try to (make) its mark in Division I football. Hopefully, we’ll have that landmark day when we beat a USC in the Sun Bowl like we did at TCU that kind of catapults us into the national scene.”
After his stint at Southwest Texas State, Franchione coached New Mexico from 1992 to 1997 and led the Lobos to their first bowl appearance since 1961 in his final year. Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher played under Franchione at New Mexico. Franchione took the head coaching job at TCU in 1998 where the Horned Frogs defeated USC in the Sun Bowl after a 1-10 record in the previous season. New York Jets running back LaDanian Tomlinson played under Franchione at TCU.
Franchione coached Alabama from 2001 to 2003, which included an Independence Bowl win in his first season. It was the Crimson Tide’s first bowl victory in five years. Franchione left Alabama to coach Texas A&M and ended his tenure with a 32-28 overall record in four seasons.
Though Franchione has coached numerous teams for more than 30 years, he knows challenges come with Texas State’s shift to the WAC.
“I think we’re going to go through growing pains as we make this transition for the next couple years,” Franchione said. “We’ve got another year to compete in the Southland Conference, and then we start competing in the Western Athletic Conference, so that’s going to be a unique challenge in itself. I think you draw so much strength in the fact that we have facilities, we have vision and we have players close by. When you have those things, you have a chance to make this (successful).”
Franchione’s son, Brad Franchione, resigned as Blinn’s head football coach four days prior to Texas State’s announcement. Dennis Franchione said his son joining Texas State’s coaching staff is a possibility.
“I have (given Brad an interview),” Franchione said. “He’s got a couple of other opportunities that he needs to look at, so I’m going to have to compete hard for him right now, and that’s OK. I hope he can be on our staff. He’s got a couple of other really good opportunities he’s going to look at, and if those are better, I understand. I want what’s best for him.”