Wednesday evening, Franklin earned the Big Ten Conference Dave McClain Coach of the Year honor, voted on by media members from around the league. Earning his first postseason conference award of his career at Penn State, the honor comes as a symbol dedication to the process and gratitude for the staff and student-athletes who have benefited from his leadership.
In the moments following a dominant 45-12 win against Michigan State to clinch the Big Ten East Division title and secure Penn State's first 10-win regular season since 2009, Franklin was quick to thank those around him.
"I want to thank the best coaching staff in the country," Franklin said. "We spend a lot of time together, care about one another, support one another, we're very creative and have a lot of fun. I want to thank the players - the players have been great."
While the path to Franklin's first Big Ten Coach of the Year honor has been anything but ordinary, if one thing has been the same from year one to year three, it has been a steadfast commitment to process and consistency in the same approach based on a foundation of four core values, positive attitude, work ethic, competition in everything and the willingness to sacrifice.
The first two years, steep scholarship reductions presented a unique challenge, but Penn State battled to a pair of bowl appearances following back-to-back 7-6 seasons.
Following the 2015 season, Franklin adjusted staffing positions, most notably promoting Brent Pry to defensive coordinator, welcoming offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, who was the head coach at Fordham and offensive line coach Matt Limegrover, who served as an assistant at Minnesota.
A 2-2 to start the 2016 season, although back at full scholarship allotment, the Nittany Lions were facing a linebacker unit riddled with injuries, unlike anything Franklin had ever seen with the Big Ten slate already underway.
Despite the circumstances, Franklin calmly addressed a room full of media members on a Tuesday afternoon in early October, going back to the process.
"There's a process from the time we arrived to where we're going," Franklin said. "I think I see strides in people that come to practice every single day, see strides in the people that are around our program, in every aspect, the professors that come as the guest coach programs with us, the administration that's around us, at practice, in meetings, academically, athletically, socially, spiritually, the whole package, there's progress being made."
Urging the room to pause for a deep breath, Franklin offered one final statement before moving on.
"We're going to continue loving these kids," Franklin said. "We're going to continue supporting these kids. We're going to continue developing these kids, and I believe in my 22 years of experience that we're heading in the right direction and good things are going to happen if people let the process play out."
Just four days later, Penn State engineered a triumphant comeback from, defeating Minnesota 29-26 in overtime to kick off a string of eight consecutive victories, culminating in the Big Ten East Division title, securing Penn State's first conference crown since 2009.
Along the way, Penn State shocked the nation, rallying from a 14-point deficit to upset second-ranked Ohio State in front of an electric white out crowd of more than 107,000 fans.
On Saturday, as Franklin addressed the media postgame following a dominant 45-12 win against Michigan State, he again, returned to the process.
"I think if you look at our track record, that's really who we've been," Franklin said. "We've gotten better as the season has gone on and stuck to our process. I know early on we had some other challenges and I know people like to make light of that, but this is really who we've been. We've stuck to the plan and supported one another every step of the way to keep getting better."
Whether its injuries, youth, or even a situation as unthinkable as crippling sanctions, Franklin and his staff, long standing or new, have not waivered in the face of adversity, but rather reverted to the plan as the roadmap to what's ahead.
"Coming here, it's not like I was a first time coach, it's not like our staff was the first time being together," Franklin said. "We had a plan and we believed in the plan, it was detailed, it was thorough, it was organized and it wasn't like we were just trying to take a plan from school 'x' and bring it to school 'z', we had modified it to Penn State and we believed in it. Although there were rough patches and tough times, we stuck to the plan."
For Franklin, amidst a 10-win season, a Big Ten title and a Big Ten Championship game on the horizon, there's still a long way to go. Although pleased with the progress that has been made, there's still much to do moving forward as the plan continues to unfold.
On the heels of Spartan victory, Franklin joined the Big Ten Championship game conference call Sunday afternoon, giving just a glimpse of what the recent the success has paved the way for, in terms of the next piece of a process that will ultimately take time.
"Now we have recent success that allows people, instead of talking about what Penn State was, people are now talking about what Penn State is, and that's exciting."