NORFOLK, Va. - Monday's mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado hit too close to home for Old Dominion head football coach Ricky Rahne, and it was unfortunately an all-too-familiar feeling for the Monarchs bench boss.
"Unfortunately in the state of Colorado, we've had far too many mass shootings - and frankly, it's tragic," Rahne said Tuesday following his team's spring practice.
Rahne, a native of Morrison, Colorado, grew up less than 45 minutes from the site of the mass shooting at a grocery story which killed 10 people - including a police officer. Rahne's hometown is also less than 45 minutes from Aurora, a site of another Colorado mass shooting in 2012. Additionally, Rahne says his high school alma mater's arch rival was Columbine High School. In fact, Rahne's father, Ray, is a firefighter and was one of the first responders to arrive on-site on the site of the Columbine High School mass shooting in 1999.
"It's hard for me to explain to my sons why the flag always flies at half-mast," Rahne admitted. "In my opinion, obviously we need to have some serious conversations about gun laws in this country. I also think, even more importantly, we also need to have serious conversations about mental health issues in this country - and how we deal with those and the stigmas that come with them."
.@ODUFootball coach @RickyRahne is a native of Morrison, Colorado - a town less than 45 minutes from Boulder, Aurora & Littleton...all sites of mass shootings.— Adam Winkler (@AdamWink) March 23, 2021
Monday's tragedy in Boulder once again hits too close to home.
Via @WTKR3 https://t.co/v1EW9cKMyq @odu @OldDominionAF pic.twitter.com/j3pjRzMgXb
Rahne said, while he considered it, he's yet to discuss Monday's mass shooting with his football team. However, mental health is a subject Rahne does frequently address with his players.
"Too often as a football player, you're told to toughen up," Rahne said. "It needs to be much more acceptable on our team and socially acceptable to admit when you have a problem and ask for help. It's one thing I definitely do talk to the team about."