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Ricky Rahne

Thurmond Family ODU Head Football Coach

Ricky Rahne has taken Old Dominion Football to bowl games in two of the last three years as he enters his fifth season as head coach of the Monarchs.

ODU went 6-7 in 2023 and clinched a bowl berth by winning its final two games of the regular season on the last play of each game. The Monarchs played Western Kentucky in the Famous Toastery Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina and fell 38-35 in overtime.

The Monarchs worked in 16 new starters, nearly 60 new players and returned the sixth fewest starts in the country heading into the season. A year after finishing last in the Sun Belt in most offensive categories, Rahne hired former Fordham offensive coordinator to take over the offense, and it showed improvement as ODU finished eighth in the league in rushing and 11th in scoring offense. Quarterback Grant Wilson, a transfer from Fordham, improved each week and the combo of Keshawn Wicks and Kadarius Calloway combined to rush for 1,212 yards and eight touchdowns. Wide receivers Isiah Paige, Kelby Williams and Reymello Murphy led the young unit as Paige led the team in receptions and Williams and Murphy were in the top-50 in the country in yards per catch.

For the second-straight year, linebacker Jason Henderson made history, becoming the first FBS Monarch to earn first-team All-America honors, as he received the honors from a variety of media outlets, including Walter Camp and The Sporting News. Henderson led the country in tackles per game for the second-straight year and finished third in the country in tackles for loss per game. Along with Wayne Matthews and Terry Jones, ODU was the only team in the country to have three players with more than 100 tackles.

To get to six wins, ODU exorcised a few demons, defeating App State and Georgia Southern for the first times in program history. ODU played in 11 one-score games and went 6-5 in those games. Six of those games were not decided until the final play of the game.

Old Dominion went 3-9 in Rahne's second season on the field but the wins were two of the biggest in program history and the accolades were aplenty throughout the season. ODU defeated Virginia Tech 20-17 in the season opener, marking the second win in program history over the Hokies. A few weeks later, the Monarchs defeated Arkansas State 29-26 in the first Sun Belt Conference game in program history. Two weeks later on national television, the Monarchs knocked off previously undefeated and eventual Sun Belt Division Champion Coastal Carolina, 49-21 in Conway, South Carolina.

In individual honors, linebacker Jason Henderson led the country in tackles and became ODU's first FBS All-American, earning the honor from five different publications. Wide receiver Ali Jennings finished third in the country in receiving yards, while right tackle Nick Saldiveri was selected to play in the Reese's Senior Bowl, just the third player in ODU history to play in the most prestigious college football all-star game.

ODU finished in the top-20 in the country in a handful of categories, including 12th in red zone defense, and in what has become a cornerstone of the program, special teams. ODU ranked 10th in the country in blocked kicks, 13th in punt return defense and 19th in net punting.

In his first season on the field in 2021, Rahne took a team that went 1-11 in 2019, and did not play in 2020, to a bowl game. ODU started the season 1-6 and won five-straight behind Rahne's 1-0 mentality, to earn a bid to the Myrtle Beach Bowl to play Tulsa. ODU became just the third team since 1936 (AP Poll era) to start the season 1-6 or worse and win six games.

Rahne helped lead Zack Kuntz to first-team All-Conference USA honors at tight end and 12 additional Monarchs to spots on the C-USA honorable mention team. Kuntz finished second in the country among tight ends with 73 receptions, while running back Blake Watson became the first ODU running back since 2016 to rush for over 1,000 yards and finished 22nd in the country with 101.1 yards per game. 

ODU had its best scoring defense since 2016 and tied a school record by allowing 20 points or less five times. Linebacker Jordan Young broke the 100-tackle barrier for the first time in his career and set the ODU career record for tackles with 350. The Monarchs finished third in Conference USA and 35th in the country in rushing defense.

Rahne has built the Monarchs on being aggressive on the field and that was epitomized by the special teams units. ODU tied for the national lead with four blocked punts and six total blocked kicks. LaMareon James finished the season ranked ninth in the country with a 29.4 yard average on kickoff returns, and was one of two players to have two, 100-yard kickoff return touchdowns.

During ODU's winning streak, the Monarchs outscored teams by a 36-22 margin, and became bowl eligible in the regular season finale, dispatching Charlotte 56-34. 

Rahne was the offensive coordinator at Penn State for two seasons and on the Nittany Lions coaching staff for six years.
For the past nine years, Rahne (pronounced ronnie) has developed an increasing national profile as a key component of Coach James Franklin's staff at both Penn State and Vanderbilt. The coaching staff has guided those teams to bowl games in each of the nine years and have won nine or more games in six of the last eight seasons.
Rahne has spent six seasons at Penn State, including the last two as offensive coordinator. Despite having a new starting quarterback, Rahne helped lead the Nittany Lion offense to 34 points per game during that season, while six offensive players earned all-Big10 honors this season.
Known as a terrific offensive mind that can adjust to his personnel, Rahne demonstrated that again in 2019. Despite the loss of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft (Saquon Barkley), Penn State rushed for the most yards per game in the last 10 years at 204.9. PSU had nine players earn all-conference accolades, and the Nittany Lions led the Big10 with 42 red zone touchdowns, good for 16th in FBS.
Rahne was the quarterbacks coach in four of his six seasons at Penn State, as both of the quarterbacks he worked with were drafted into the NFL. In 2015, Christian Hackenberg (Jets, 2016) became the all-time leader in career yards passing with 8,457 yards, Three years later, Rahne guided Trace McSorely (Ravens, 2019) past that mark in 2018 with 9,899 yards. He also coached the tight ends in 2016 and 2017, guiding Mike Gesicki who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins.
Penn State has played in a bowl game in every year Rahne was there, including a 2016 Big10 Championship and 2017 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl win over Washington. In that time, Penn State has had four-straight seasons of at least nine wins, and the Nittany Lions are one of five teams to rank in the Top-15 of the College Football Playoff final rankings in each of the last four years.
Prior to joining Penn State, Rahne was the quarterbacks coach at Vanderbilt for three years. 

Prior to Rahne's time at Vanderbilt, the program had been to four bowl games in 121 years of football, none in consecutive seasons. The Commodores were ranked in the Top-25 in the final polls in 2012 and 2013 marking the first time they were ranked in back-to-back seasons in program history.
He spent five years at Kansas State, starting as an offensive graduate assistant before coaching the running backs and tight ends. He helped the Wildcats to two bowl appearances.
Rahne started his coaching career on the defensive side at Holy Cross coaching the defensive line. The following year he coached the running backs at his alma mater, Cornell.
He was a three-year starter at quarterback at Cornell (2002), and graduated as the Big Red's all-time leader in completions (678), passing yards (7,710), touchdown passes (54) and total offense (7,994). He was inducted into the Cornell Hall of Fame in 2014.
Rahne and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons, Ryder and Jake. 

Ricky Rahne Coaching Experience

2019-PresentOld DominionHead Coach
2018-19Penn StateOffensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
2016-17Penn StatePass Game Coordinator/Tight Ends
2014-15Penn StatePass Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks
2009-10Kansas StateTight Ends
2007-08Kansas StateRunning Backs
2006Kansas StateOffensive Graduate Assistant
2005CornellRunning Backs
2004Holy CrossAssistant Defensive Line