The 40-year-old former New Jersey Nets coach who spent last season as an assistant with the Boston Celtics, replaces John Kuester, who was fired in June after two losing seasons where the Pistons finished well out of playoff contention.
Frank, who worked primarily with the Celtics defense while in Boston, said he will enforce those defensive values on the Pistons players during his tenure.
Frank has a career 225-241 record from his seven seasons coaching the New Jersey Nets and was fired by the team after starting the 2009-10 NBA season 0-16.
Terms of his contract were not disclosed.
The NBA locked out its players on July 1, threatening the start of the 2011-12 season in November, but teams are still allowed to conduct business unrelated to players.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)