Franklin comes to Penn State after inheriting a Vanderbilt team in 2011 that made one bowl game in the previous 28 years and hadn't experienced a nine-win season since 1915. Under his tutelage, the Commodores made three bowl games in a row -- the first time in school history -- and finished with back-to-back nine-win seasons.
He spoke passionately for much of his introductory news conference and told the media that Beaver Stadium's 107,000-seat capacity would be filled every week. He also said he planned to run multiple pro-style sets and would "dominate the state" and the region in recruiting.
"Best day of my life," Franklin said, reversing course after glancing left and laughing after making eye contact with his wife and daughters. "Third best day."
Earlier this week, ESPN reported that other candidates for the Penn State job included Miami's Al Golden, former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak and San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Penn State interim coach Larry Johnson also reportedly interviewed with the committee.
Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams said in a statement the Commodores plan to hire someone who can build on the progress of the past few years. Williams said Franklin called him Friday night telling him he was accepting the Penn State job.
"There is no question that James Franklin's outstanding work has helped put Vanderbilt football on the national stage," Williams said. "We are extremely sorry to see the Franklin family leave our university and community, and we thank them and wish them the very best."