North Texas Athletics
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Texas State University president Denise Trauth and athletic director Larry Teis announced Friday that a nationwide search to find a new football head coach has concluded as Dennis Franchione will take over the reins of the Bobcat football program.
“Texas State conducted a robust national search for the next man to lead our football program,“ Trauth said. “We interviewed stellar candidates, all of whom wanted to come to San Marcos. I am very pleased that we have been able to hire a man with the experience, talent and passion of Dennis Franchione as our new head football coach.
“This is a very important moment at our University as we move from FCS to FBS football. Coach Franchione’s championship experience and winning record, in conjunction with the academic success of his teams, mark him as a preeminent FBS coach. He is the right person to lead us as Texas State assumes its role in the top tier of intercollegiate athletics.”
Franchione, who compiled a 13-9 record in two seasons at Texas State in 1990-91, returns to the collegiate coaching ranks after compiling a 187-101-2 overall career record and leading his teams to eight conference championships and one divisional title in his 25 seasons as a head coach. He also has served as a commentator for ESPN Radio broadcasts.
“Kim and I loved our time at Texas State – the people, San Marcos and the University, but we have often said it was too short,” Franchione said. “We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to return, especially with the vision of President Trauth and Larry Teis.”
Franchione has signed a five-year contract with a base salary of $350,000 per year and other incentives.
The announcement concludes Texas State’s search that included utilizing the services of Parker Executive Search firm in Atlanta, Ga.
“The pool of candidates was unbelievable, and I think that is because we are moving to the FBS level,” Teis said. “I would have been happy to select any of the coaches we interviewed as our new head coach. In the end, though, Coach Fran’s overall experience rose to the top.”
Franchione’s collegiate head coaching career began at Southwestern in 1981, and he compiled a 14-4-2 record. In 1982, he led his team nine wins, a Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championship and a Sunflower Bowl win. The nine wins tied the school record for most wins in a season and were the most at Southwestern since 1967.
He also served as the head coach at his alma mater, Pittsburgh State, from 1985-89. During his five seasons, Franchione led the Gorillas to a 53-6 record, 37-1 conference mark, five Central States Intercollegiate Conference championships and was named NAIA National Coach of the Year twice. His teams tied the school record for victories in a season three times before breaking it with a 12-win campaign in 1989.
The following year, he served as the head coach at Texas State (formerly Southwest Texas State) in 1990-91 and led the Bobcats to consecutive winning seasons, a feat that was not duplicated until 2008-09. Franchione compiled a 13-9 record at Texas State before taking his first FBS job at New Mexico in 1992. He led the Lobos to a 33-36 overall record, including a 9-4 mark in 1997 when New Mexico won the WAC’s Mountain Division championship and earned an invitation to play in the Insight.com Bowl, the school’s first bowl game since 1961. During the 1996 and 1997 seasons, one of his players was future NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Franchione was named head coach at TCU in 1998 and quickly turned around the fortune of the school’s football program. After the Horned Frogs finished the previous season with a 1-10 record, Franchione led them to a 7-5 mark and a victory over USC in the Sun Bowl in his first year. He also led TCU to a bowl game in 1999 before the Horned Frogs finished the 2000 season with a 10-1 record, a WAC co-championship and a berth to the Mobile Alabama Bowl. His offense featured Doak Walker Award winner and Heisman finalist LaDainian Tomlinson at running back.
Franchione’s next stop as head coach was at Alabama, where he led the Crimson Tide to a 7-5 record in 2001 after the Tide had posted a 3-8 record the prior season. The team also won the Independence Bowl that season, which was Alabama’s first bowl victory in five years. In 2002, he led the Crimson Tide to a 10-3 mark and a SEC West Division championship with a 6-2 league record. Following Alabama’s victory over Hawaii that season, Franchione was named head coach at Texas A&M.
During the next five seasons, his Aggies posted three winning records and played in three bowl games. Texas A&M finished the 2004 season with a 7-5 mark and played in the Cotton Bowl, the first bowl game in which the Aggies had played in three seasons. His best season at the school came in 2006 when the Aggies won nine games and played in the Holiday Bowl. The next year, Texas A&M posted a 7-5 record and qualified to play in the Alamo Bowl. However, Franchione resigned as head coach prior to the bowl game and ended his tenure at the school with a 32-28 record. His recruiting classes were ranked among the top 13 nationally from 2003-05.
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