Throughout his tenure as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Ricky Rahne insisted he had his dream job. Leading an offense, and not a team, had always been his goal, he insisted.
Turns out, running a program had its perks for Rahne, too.
Penn State lost its offensive coordinator Monday afternoon. Old Dominion hired Rahne as its next head coach, the school announced, ending a two-year run as coordinator that saw the Nittany Lions rank in the top 25 in the nation in scoring offense in 2019.
FootballScoop.com first reported the move. Rahne will be introduced at a press conference this morning.
“I am happy to welcome Ricky Rahne to the Monarch community,” ODU President John R. Broderick said in a statement. “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 Cornell graduate has been a member of Penn State coach James Franklin’s staffs dating to the 2011 season at Vanderbilt, when Franklin hired Rahne to be his quarterbacks coach. The two were on the same staff at Kansas State in 2006 and 2007, when Rahne was a graduate assistant and Franklin the offensive coordinator.
“I love Ricky and his family,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said in a statement released via his Twitter account. “This is a bittersweet moment for our program. I am so incredibly proud of Ricky, and I am super excited for him, his family and Old Dominion.
“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.”
At Penn State, Rahne helped develop quarterback Trace McSorley and was his most ardent supporter on the recruiting trail as a Virginia high school standout.
But, Rahne also worked as the program’s tight ends coach in 2016 and 2017 when Joe Moorhead took over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In those two seasons, tight end Mike Gesicki blossomed from an inconsistent performer into one of the most dangerous tight ends in the nation, becoming a second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2018.
Rahne has become a target of fan frustration over the past two seasons though, dating back to the fourth-down running play that stalled a last-ditch drive in a 27-26 loss to Ohio State at Beaver Stadium in 2018.
Old Dominion went 1-11 in 2019 and was winless in eight Conference USA games in its sixth full season as a Football Bowl Subdivision program. Coach Bobby Wilder, the only coach it has had during its tenure as an FBS team, resigned his post Dec. 2.
Both McSorley and Penn State’s current starting quarterback, Sean Clifford, praised Old Dominion for the hire, calling Rahne a great leader for the Nittany Lions.
“Not only is he a great coach, but has been a great mentor to myself and my teammates,” Clifford wrote on his Twitter account.