Tight ends coach Rahne to replace Moorhead as OC
By Cory Giger
It didn’t take James Franklin long to hire a new offensive coordinator, and he didn’t have to look very far, either.
For all the talk of how Franklin keeps a list of potential assistant coaches from around the country, Penn State’s head coach decided to promote from within the staff in selecting Ricky Rahne as the new leader of the offense.
Rahne served as PSU’s tight ends coach the past two seasons under offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, who left this week to become head coach at Mississippi State. Prior to that, Rahne was the Nittany Lions’ quarterbacks coach from 2014-15 and worked with Christian Hackenberg.
Rahne has a long history with Franklin. They first worked together at Kansas State from 2006-07, when Rahne was a graduate assistant and then running backs coach while Franklin was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Rahne also was the quarterbacks coach at Vanderbilt while Franklin was head coach from 2011-13. He came to PSU when Franklin was hired in 2014.
“I am extremely honored and grateful for the opportunity to be the offensive coordinator at Penn State,” Rahne said in a university statement. “Ever since arriving on campus, I’ve hoped that one day I would earn a chance to lead the offense at Beaver Stadium.
“I’ve been blessed to learn from some of the best offensive minds in the game. That knowledge gives me confidence that our talented and hard-working players, combined with a terrific coaching staff, can continue to build on our recent success. We Are!”
To say that Franklin is a fan of Rahne’s would be an understatement. Franklin has praised Rahne many times over the years, and he hired him as offensive coordinator despite having never served in that role during his career.
Franklin said he is “thrilled” to elevate Rahne to the position.
“Ricky is one of the rising stars in college football,” Franklin said in the university statement. “He is extremely sharp, driven and has a great rapport with our players. He has been very involved in our offensive scheme the last two years, which is why I anticipate our offense will continue to thrive under Ricky.”
By staying in house with the Rahne hire, it’s clear Franklin wants to continue the offensive philosophies established by Moorhead and did not feel compelled to go with someone from outside the program with coordinator experience. The Lions rank seventh in the country in scoring this season at 41.6 points per game.
Rahne will call the plays for PSU, something he’s only done in one game in his career — the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl against Georgia after offensive coordinator John Donovan was fired.
Rahne was a three-year starting quarterback at Cornell, where he set program career records for completions (678), passing yards (7,710), touchdown passes (54) and total offense (7,994). He was an honorable-mention All-American in 2000 and was inducted the school’s athletic hall of fame in 2014.
The Rahne promotion was one of a number of staff moves made by Penn State on Friday, including the addition of two new assistants.
Phil Galiano was hired as special teams coordinator and assistant defensive line coach. Charles Huff had been special teams coordinator, but he left to join Moorhead’s staff at Mississippi State.
Tyler Bowen, a former PSU grad assistant, was hired as the tight ends coach.
Galiano has 17 years of coaching experience, including eight at Rutgers during three stints. He was a defensive consultant for the Lions this season.
“As a kid that grew up as a Penn State fan, I always knew that this is a special place,” Galiano said. “When I got into the coaching profession, working at Penn State was always a goal of mine. I am extremely grateful to Coach Franklin for believing in me.
“We have made some great steps in special teams this year and I am excited to continue to build upon that. It will be very special to have my wife and family become part of this Penn State family.”
Bowen was Fordham’s offensive coordinator in 2016 and Maryland’s offensive line coach this season. He played offensive line for three seasons at Maryland when Franklin was there and was a grad assistant at PSU in 2014.
“Tyler is a young man I have known for many years, beginning as an offensive lineman at Maryland and then continuing our relationship while he was a student assistant at Maryland and as a graduate assistant at Penn State,” Franklin said. “He has a high football IQ and tremendous passion for the game that will impact our student-athletes on a daily basis. He has history with our offensive scheme, which will help this be a seamless transition.”
“From the first time that my wife, Ginny, and I were on campus in 2014, we knew this was a special place full of special people, special players and special fans,” Bowen said. “I am honored and privileged to be back at Penn State University, where we can continue to build on the foundation that Coach Franklin and this staff have cultivated.”
Some other assistant coaches will have new titles.
Receivers coach and offensive recruiting coordinator Josh Gattis will now be the passing game coordinator. Offensive line coach Matt Limegrover will be the run game coordinator.