Penn State’s Ricky Rahne to become head coach at Old Dominion

ODU Football

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The wait appears to be over.

Penn State offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne is expected to replace Bobby Wilder as the new head football coach at Old Dominion University, the university announced in a news release Monday.

Rahne, 39, has been an assistant to Penn State Coach James Franklin for the past eight years. He was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach before eventually moving to the offensive coordinator role in 2018 after Joe Moorhead left for Mississippi State.

“I am happy to welcome Ricky Rahne to the Monarch community,” ODU President John R. Broderick said in the release. “We are fortunate to have him, and I look forward to the future. With his strong track record of building offensive success and turning around programs, he is the right person to lead our football team into 2020 and beyond.”

The university plans to introduce Rahne to the ODU community at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Priority Automotive Club in Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

“We were fortunate to attract a deep and talented pool of candidates from many of the nation’s elite college football programs. We went into the search process targeting a coach with a proven track record of success in transforming programs into sustained championship caliber programs. We wanted a dynamic, high energy coach who could relate to today’s student-athlete while also serving as an outstanding role model. Fortunately for ODU, our student-athletes, and our community we have exactly what we were seeking in Ricky Rahne, a seasoned assistant head coach and Big 10 Offensive Coordinator who brings the blueprints for success on how to rebuild an FBS football program into a sustained winner given his recent experiences at both Vanderbilt and Penn State. Consistent themes emerged throughout the search process pertaining to Coach Rahne such as extremely intelligent, amazing work ethic, tenacious recruiter, family man, detail oriented, and proven leader. 

– Wood Selig, ODU athletics director

Penn State has played in a bowl game every year since Rahne was hired, including a 2016 Big10 Championship and 2017 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl win over Washington.

Franklin, the Penn State head coach, said Rahne’s departure is “bittersweet.”

“I am forever indebted to Ricky for his loyalty and drive in helping us succeed at Vanderbilt and Penn State. Ricky is a rising star in the industry and is built for this opportunity. He is a smart, open-minded and talented coach. His humble leadership style will resonate well with Old Dominion’s leadership and players. I look forward to following his program at Old Dominion,” Franklin said in the release.

Rahne spent three years at Vanderbilt before he joined Penn State.

Before then, he also spent five years at Kansas State, coached the defensive line at Holy Cross and coached running backs at his alma mater, Cornell.

Rahne was a starting quarterback for three years at Cornell and graduated as the school’s all-time leader in completions (678), passing yards (7,710), touchdown passes (54) and total offense (7,994).

Rahne and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Ryder and Jake.

They started their drive down to Hampton Roads Tuesday and shared this video message on Twitter:

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