By Harry Allison

This is a great country!

A year ago, Penn State coach James Franklin was on the hot seat.

And today he is on the gravy train.

Penn State approved a six-year contract extension worth $5.8 million per year for the fourth-year head coach, according to Sports Illustrated. That includes a $2 million buyout for the 2017 season.

That makes Franklin as the fourth-highest paid head coach in the country behind Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer.

Franklin is 25-15 at Penn State after taking over for Bill O’Brien amidst NCAA sanctions. Under Franklin’s watch, the sanctions were lifted, the offense evolved into a force under stars like running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley, and the Nittany Lions became relevant again on the national stage.

He was named Coach of the Year for his 11-3 (8-1 Big Ten) record in the Big Ten title year of 2016, and he has the program ranked sixth in the preseason Coaches Poll.

Prior to this three seasons in Happy Valley, Franklin perennial SEC East doormat Vanderbilt to consecutive nine-win seasons and three straight bowl games. The 45-year-old Franklin is 49-30 overall in six seasons as a college head coach.

Penn State opens its season Sept. 2 at home against Akron.

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