James Onuska | Senior Writer
The Monarchs are looking to usher in a new era with the hiring of Coach Ricky Rahne. This brings an ending to Coach Bobby Wilder’s time at Old Dominion University. A legacy that restarted the program back in 2009 which includes the University’s only Bowl game appearance resulting in a 24-20 victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles in 2016. Fast forward to the 2019 season, the Monarchs finished the season at 1-11 and decided to go in a different direction from Coach Wilder. The University has invested in the football program which includes expanding the seating and concession stands at S.B. Ballard Stadium. The team needed a new face and they found their guy with Coach Ricky Rahne.
The offensive minded specialist has it in his DNA and looks to implement his coaching philosophies with the Norfolk crowd. Coach Rahne’s experience commenced while playing quarterback at Cornell from 1999-2001. He than began his coaching career at Holy Cross, acting as an assistant defensive lineman coach. After putting in the work, Coach Rahne landed in Manhattan Kansas where he received immense experience coaching at a Power Five University, Kansas State. Coach Rahne had a short stint as the quarterback coach at Vanderbilt University before taking a role with Penn State University. For four seasons, Coach Rahne worked with Penn State’s quarterbacks, including Trace McSorley who is now playing on the Baltimore Ravens. In Coach Rahne’s last season at PSU he was the offensive coordinator under Head Coach James Franklin. You could now understand why Old Dominion University was excited to land such a sensational leader.
When Mace & Crown had the opportunity to meet with Coach Rahne, we wanted to discuss his new role at the University. We asked the new Head Coach what were some of the factors that came into play with the decision making of taking the job? “The talent base in the area, the new facility and amenities, and the people here are fantastic which made it a good fit for me and my family.” Coach Rahne also saw a large support from the fanbase and alumni that contributed to his overall goal. “I’m a very competitive person and I want to win.” Coach Rahne brings with him core values that he has inherited from Coach Franklin of PSU and the organization skills and motto of no detail is too small from retired Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder.
Hampton Roads is an area of top tier Division-1 athletes and it will now be Coach Rahne’s responsibility to keep some of those elite students here and commit to ODU. “I want to show them that the staff and I care about them and want to provide them with a first-class relationship.” With home games against Power Five teams University of Virginia and Wake Forest University on the upcoming season, it is key that the program starts recruiting those D-1 players that normally choose to head to UVA or Virginia Tech.
Coach Rahne has faced some early challenges at ODU. He has encountered a University that has stopped all practice participation due to the recent Covid-19 condition. Unable to see players perform live and limited on interaction with his team and staff. He has had to rely on lots of Zoom calls and text to make the best of their situation. “The strength and academic staff are doing an unbelievable job with what they have and we’re making the most with what we got.” When the University resumes back to an open campus and the student body has the opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation for the football program, Coach Rahne wishes that the fans continue to show their devotion with attending home games to help them win by energizing the team. He is aware of the heavy presence of military in the area and hopes to embrace the continuity between the community and Old Dominion University. He has already made his way around eating at multiple local landmarks including Doumar’s and Perfectly Franks. Coach Rahne has even discovered how to correctly pronounce Norfolk and with the football season quickly approaching, we have landed our guy and his name is Ricky Rahne.