NORFOLK, Va. - Tell Old Dominion football coach Ricky Rahne that this season is like a Disney story and he will beg to differ.
"I don't know if it's like a Disney story. I don't remember my [players] giving me any cute bits of wisdom like those stories usually have," Rahne quipped.
While Rahne may disagree, many would consider ODU's 2021 campaign to be a fairy tale season. With a 1-6 record and the odds stacked against them, the Monarchs rattled off five straight wins to earn bowl eligibility and are now headed to the Myrtle Beach Bowl where they will face Tulsa.
This marks just the second time in program history that ODU is headed to a bowl, the first occasion being in 2016 when the Monarchs played in the Bahamas.
What is already a huge accomplishment becomes even more remarkable for Rahne, who took over a 1-11 squad upon his 2020 arrival and led them to a bowl game in just his first season as a head coach.
While Rahne argues that his team's journey is not one that Disney stories are made of, it tops the list of stories he's been a part of since beginning his coaching career back in 2004.
"I love our story. I love this season. It's the most fun season I've ever been a part of," Rahne reflected. "The kids never changed, never blinked. They believed in our coaching staff, our coaching staff believed.
"It was really just a special time to go through that and watch the guys get better each and every week, and then just continue to battle at every single practice."
The battle his team put forth culminates in a matchup with Tulsa at the Myrtle Beach Bowl. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. on Monday, December 20.