Vandy coach speaks at Red Cross Breakfast
By Carole Robinson, Senior Staff Writer
Photo By Carole Robinson
Vanderbilt Football Coach James Franklin spoke at Monday's Red Cross Heroes Breakfast.
The Natchez Trace Chapter of the American Red Cross hosted its annual early morning Heroes Breakfast Monday to thank supporters and volunteers for their time and the funds they provide to help the Red Cross fulfill its lifesaving mission: to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. A network of volunteers and generous donors and partners in communities and worldwide allows the Red Cross to turn compassion into action locally, nationally and globally.
Whether it’s responding to disasters, collecting blood, teaching life-saving skills or assisting members of the military and their families, “Everyone understands the need for the Red Cross during a crisis, but we need to help prepare for disasters now,” said keynote speaker, Vanderbilt head football coach James Franklin.
Franklin also spoke about his challenge to change the culture of the Vanderbilt football program. In his short tenure, the results of his changes are numerous and are now in the Vanderbilt gridiron history book. Franklin led the team to back-to-back bowl games, including the Music City Bowl Championship, had the highest-rated recruiting class three years in a row and a squad earning AFCA Academic Achievement Award in 2012.
Prior to Franklin, the first African-American head coach at Vanderbilt, the university attended four bowl games in 122 years and never ranked above the Top 70 in recruiting. It now ranks in the Top 20 recruiting classes and among the Top 20 academic institutions.
“My goal is to have the highest graduation rate, the highest grade point average and to win the SEC Championship,” Franklin said, adding his priorities are – number one, graduate players; two, win football games; and three, make a positive impact on the community.
Core values set the tone of his team, he said, and insists his players always have a positive attitude on and off the field and have a tremendous work ethic – “out work the people around you everyday,” and compete in everything we do.
“We’ve lost that in our society, we’ve become a soft society,” he said.
Finally, to be successful, one must be willing to sacrifice things others are not willing to sacrifice, Franklin said.
“I came to Vanderbilt to win games and make a positive impact on the community,” he concluded. “Go ’Dores.”
Franklin made a positive impact on the more than 300 business and community leaders gathered for the breakfast.
Early figures show, “We had record attendance and we raised a record $92,100,” said Clint McCain, a board member of the Natchez Trace Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Posted on: 5/16/2013