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Penn State Football: Rahne Named Head Coach at Old Dominion

by on December 09, 2019 4:01 PM

Penn State offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne is Old Dominion's new head coach, the program announced on Monday night. Rahne leaves the Nittany Lions after six seasons in State College.

"First, I love Ricky and his family. 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," Penn State head coach James Franklin said. "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 and Rahne both crossed coaching paths in the mid 2000s while each were at Kansas State. Franklin later hired Rahne while at Vanderbilt in 2011 and retained his services after taking the job at Penn State in 2014. Rahne has worked in multiple capacities in Happy Valley including as tight ends and quarterbacks coach and, for the last two seasons, as offensive coordinator.

Penn State is ranked 22nd in scoring offense this season, up from 31st in the nation during the 2018 campaign. The Nittany Lions are converting nearly 42% of their third down attempts, the second best mark of James Franklin's tenure in State College.

Rahne becomes the second head coach in ODU history, following coach Bobby Wilder, who stepped down earlier this month after 12 years with the Monarchs. ODU made the move to the FBS Division I level in 2012.

Having agreed to a new contract on Friday, Franklin alluded to reporters on Sunday night that his new deal may have a lot less to do with his own money as it could the people and facilities around him. In turn, Penn State may find itself well positioned to make an external hire.

“For us, really what the contract is about is consistency and then it’s about taking some areas that we think we need to take the next step in,” Franklin said. "A lot of conversations with me, and [Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics] Sandy Barbour, and [university President] Eric Barron, and also our [Board of Trustees]. It’s the whole package, and one of the things I’m so excited about Penn State is, we align with that. Winning is really important, but it’s so much more than wins here. To talk through all these things, and continue to make our university proud and community proud and our lettermen proud; we continue to chip away at it and make significant progress."

The Nittany Lions are slated to play Memphis in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 28, looking to pick up an 11th win.

It's unclear at this time if Rahne will stay with Penn State throughout the bowl prep.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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