For all of the memorable things James Franklin said when he was introduced last weekend as Penn State’s 16th head football coach, the line about the balloons might’ve been the most memorable of all. In case you missed it:
“Me and my wife and children will be out in this community. We’ll not turn down a speaking engagement. We’ll get out and interact with people … People ask us to blow up balloons at their kid’s birthday party in the backyard, we’ll do that.”
This morning (and not for the first time this week), my colleague Lori Shontz ’91 mentioned that line and asked, “I wonder how many people have already requested him at their kids’ birthday parties?”
It was a great question. We had to find out.
We decided to ask Christine Laur ’95, whose role as executive assistant to the head coach means that all such requests go through her. Her answer sort of surprised us. “Yes, I have been bombarded with appearance requests since the minute his press conference ended,” Christine said. “I have not personally received any for blowing up balloons yet, but I have no doubt that they will be forthcoming!”
Lest that seem an invitation for those angling to be first to convince Coach Franklin to lug his helium tank to their 5-year-old’s bash in the next few weeks, we’re told that the entire coaching staff will be booked solid with recruiting duties from now until signing day on Feb. 5. In the meantime, here’s hoping fans give our new coach time to settle in. Christine, patient and organized as she is, probably wouldn’t mind a respite, either.
For more on The Football Letter, including online archives (requires Alumni Association member log-in), click here.
Not yet an Alumni Association member? Click here.