Boulder, Colorado shooting is personal for ODU football coach Ricky Rahne

Ricky Rahne
Posted at 4:39 PM, Mar 23, 2021

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."

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."