Penn State University has named Vanderbilt University football coach James Franklin their new head coach.
The deal is for six years and worth a reported $4.5 million a year.
Coach Franklin has no formal ties to Penn State but grew up in Langhorne, Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia.
Franklin arrived on the campus at Vanderbilt University just after 7:30 a.m. Saturday to attend a team meeting and officially announce his decision.
He was hired as Vanderbilt's coach in December 2010 and fans there love him because of his success, leading the Commodores to three straight bowl games in the last three years.
Fans rallied around the campus early Saturday morning to show support for the Commodores.
Penn State and Vanderbilt are both annually ranked among the nation's top institutions in the graduation rate of its football student-athletes.
The announcement was posted on Penn State's Web site minutes after Coach Franklin announced his decision to his former team.
In a statement, Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics, David Williams, said, "I received a phone call [Friday] night from Coach Franklin saying he was going to accept a new opportunity. There is no question that James Franklin's outstanding work has helped put Vanderbilt football on the national stage. We are extremely sorry to see the Franklin family leave our university and community, and we thank them and wish them the very best."
He added, "Because of James, Fumi, Shola and Addy Franklin, our program is stronger in every way than it was just a few short years ago. While I will personally miss them, I want to assure our campus community and Commodore Nation that we are prepared to begin the process that we've used in the past to identify and hire our other very successful head coaches. We have every expectation to hire an outstanding new football coach to build upon the progress that has been made in recent years."
Penn State President Rodney Erickson and Director of Athletics Dave Joyner officially announced Franklin as their head coach in a new conference Saturday afternoon.
Franklin thanked Vanderbilt during his introduction.
He said, "I'd like to start by thanking Vanderbilt University. I had an unbelievable experience there. Today was an emotional day to be able to go there and say goodbye to our team. That was a very emotional day saying bye to the 107 sons that we left back in Nashville. David Williams, the Athletics Director, was a tremendous mentor and leader. I'll be forever grateful to him.
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