Feb. 17, 2010
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech head football coach Sonny Dykes announced the hiring of Tony Franklin as the team's new offensive coordinator Wednesday. Franklin joins the staff after one season as the offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee. Meanwhile, Tommy Spangler will be retained as the defensive coordinator and Rob Likens was given the additional title of assistant head coach.
Franklin is Dykes' second hire after Rob Likens joined the staff last week. No stranger to the new LA Tech head coach, Franklin and Dykes served on the same staff at Kentucky in 1997 and 1999. Franklin's hire is pending approval by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana system.
"I'm excited to have Tony as part of the staff," said Dykes. "He has a proven track record at many institutions and at many levels. He is highly energetic and brings a detailed plan. He has a great history of being able to move the ball and score points."
In his only year as the offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee, Franklin's fast-paced, no huddle, wide-open offense generated 421.7 yards and 32.0 points per game, the fourth and seventh highest totals in MTSU history. The Blue Raider offense, which produced three all-Sun Belt Conference players, had 30 or more points nine times and topped the 400-yard mark on eight occasions. Franklin's 2009 unit set MTSU records in total yards, passing yards, and total points, while finishing 23rd nationally in scoring and 27th in total offense.
The end result was a 10-3 season that witnessed a 32-31 win over Maryland early in the season and a year capped off by a 42-32 win over Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl, the school's first bowl in the FBS era. The 10-win season was the most by any Blue Raider team since 1992.
Quarterback Dwight Dasher came of age in Franklin's offensive schemes. Dasher, a second team all-conference performer and MVP of the New Orleans Bowl, ranked 7th in the nation in total offense, threw for a school record 23 TD passes, and was named the SBC Player of the Week three times.
Franklin made his way to Middle Tennessee after a brief stint as the offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2008 and the previous two seasons in the same capacity at Troy.
"We will run a fast-paced, no huddle, attacking offense that scores points and builds excitement," said Franklin. "College football is unique in that, except for maybe the top 10 teams, any of the next 110 can beat each other on any given day. I'm excited to be in a competitive conference with a good football history. This conference is wide open and I look forward to being in a challenging and evenly-matched league."
In his two seasons at Troy, the Trojans went 16-9 overall and 12-2 in the Sun Belt Conference while collecting two conference championships. During that span his offense scored 30 or more points 11 times, including games against Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma State.
In his first season at Troy, in addition to helping the Trojans to their first Sun Belt Conference title and a victory in the New Orleans Bowl, Franklin also helped engineer the second-ranked offensive unit in the Sun Belt just one year after the team ranked last in the league in total offense. The Trojans ranked first in the league in passing offense, again one year after ranking last, despite having faced three of the top 20 ranked passing defense teams in the country during the season, and improved in conference scoring from 12 points to 25 points per game.
Franklin also recruited 2006 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Omar Haugabook who swept the top conference honors at season's end. Haugabook also led the league in passing yards per game, completions, and passing efficiency.
In 2007, the Trojans ranked 16th nationally in total offense and 25th in scoring offense.
Franklin joined the University of Kentucky football staff in 1997 following 16 years as a high school football coach. During his four-year tenure at UK, the Wildcats enjoyed unprecedented success on the offensive side of the ball, including setting several NCAA, SEC, and school records.
After coaching running backs for three seasons, Franklin was named offensive coordinator for the 2000 season and led the Wildcats to success as the nation's second-best passing offense as well as the nation's 11th-best team in total offense. Franklin's two-back combinations at Kentucky outgained any two-back combinations in the SEC in total yards from scrimmage for three straight seasons. Quarterbacks Tim Couch, Dusty Bonner, and Jared Lorenzen each led the SEC in passing during their time as UKs quarterbacks, and Couch was the first player selected in the 1999 NFL draft. Several other UK players reached their goals in making NFL teams after their experience in the high-powered offense.
Franklin was also named one of the top 10 recruiters in the South during his four years at Kentucky as he helped lead the Wildcats to their first back-to-back bowl appearances in 15 years and their first New Year's Bowl game appearance in 50 seasons.
In 2001, Franklin authored a nationally acclaimed book, Fourth Down and Life To Go, which chronicled the good, bad, and ugly experiences of his college football journey.
In 2003, Franklin was chosen to lead the expansion franchise Lexington Horsemen football team in their inaugural season in the NIFL. The Horsemen exceeded expectations for an expansion franchise and earned a birth in the playoffs with a 9-5 record, while setting records for attendance and leading the Atlantic Division in scoring at more than 50 points per game.
USA Today took notice of Franklin's football coaching and teaching abilities in a feature story in 2005 that detailed his consulting successes as a nationally sought-after offensive football coach.
Franklin also received rave reviews for his second book, Victor's Victory, which chronicled the tragic death and spectacular life of 15-year-old Hoover High football player Victor Dionte Hill. Hill died from sudden cardiac arrest on the football practice field during one of Franklin's consulting sessions. The book has helped to continue the mission of Cheryl Hill, Victor's mother, to make teachers, coaches, and parents aware of the need for automatic external defibrillators (AED's) in every school and youth organization in Alabama.
Franklin achieved both his bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Murray State University, where he was a two-year starter as a running back. He is married to Laura Franklin, and they have three girls: Chelsea, Caroline, and Caitlin.
In other coaching news, Dykes announced Wednesday that Tommy Spangler will remain at LA Tech as the defensive coordinator.
"We were contacted by a lot of people about a potential opening for defensive coordinator, some pretty big names from some pretty big schools, and we felt that the best person for the job was already here and right in front of us," said Dykes. "I have a lot of respect for Coach Spangler and I look forward to working with him. He will bring some continuity to the program amidst a lot of change."
In another staff decision, Dykes announced that Rob Likens was given the additional title of assistant head coach while Ed Jackson will continue in his position as the Character Education Coordinator.
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