AU names Rankl head football coach
Longtime assistant Bob Rankl has been named head coach of the Alfred University football team. He replaces Dave Murray, who resigned last week after 16 seasons at the Saxons’ helm to take over the top job at Hamilton College.
“I am excited to announce that Bob Rankl has accepted my offer to become our new head football coach," said Paul Vecchio, Director of Athletics. “He is a 15-year veteran of our staff and has been a central piece of building a program that has shown tremendous consistency as evidenced by advancing to postseason for 10 straight years now. Coach Rankl has exhibited that he possesses an outstanding football mind, is a proven recruiter for Alfred University and is universally respected by the student-athletes who have played for him as a leader and man of integrity.”
Rankl has been a member of the AU coaching staff for 15 seasons, serving as a graduate assistant under Murray for the 1999 and 2000 seasons before being appointed to a full-time assistant’s position prior to the 2001 campaign.
“It is a tremendous honor to be named the head football coach at Alfred University,” Rankl commented. “I have a lot of respect and admiration for Coach Murray and I fully intend on continuing the winning tradition that we have achieved. I know that we have a lot of work to do before the 2014 season and I am excited and very eager to get started.”
Throughout his tenure as an assistant, Rankl has coached the offensive line and coordinated the Saxons’ running game. Under his tutelage, AU has had one of the top rushing games in the region, with five different players turning in seasons with at least 1,000 yards rushing. That group includes former tailbacks Jesse Raynor (1999-2003), Vinson Hendrix (2006-09) and Austin Dwyer (2010-13), who rank first, second and fourth, respectively, on the Saxons’ career rushing leaders’ list.
In appointing Rankl, Vecchio noted the importance of continuing the record of success the Saxons have achieved over the last decade. AU has played postseason games in each of the last 10 years – twice in the NCAA Division III championship tournament and eight times in ECAC Bowl Championship games – and routinely competes for championships in the Empire 8 Conference, one of the top leagues in all of Division III.
“I'm a believer in culture among athletic programs," said Vecchio, “and most certainly the culture that has been built here in our football program is one of championship expectations on the field, outstanding citizenship in the community and integrity in the classroom. A great culture is hard to build and when reviewing the best options for our football program, the opportunity to keep the culture that Coach Rankl has helped to build was an easy decision. I look forward to continued success for the Saxon football program under his leadership.”
Rankl inherits a team that went 8-3 (5-2 Empire 8) in 2013, capping the year with a victory over Cortland State in the ECAC North Central Bowl Championship game, the Saxons’ sixth win in the last eight ECAC contests. Eight starters from an offense that produced 373 yards per game were lost to graduation, but quarterback Tyler Johnson, the 2013 Empire 8 Rookie of the Year, returns, as do six starters from a defense that held opponents to 333 yards per game.
Prior to coming to AU as a graduate assistant coach in 1999, Rankl enjoyed a stellar playing career at Ursinus College, where he was a four-year starting defensive lineman. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Ursinus in 1999 and a master’s degree in education from Alfred University in 2001. He and his wife, Tori, live in Hornell with their son, Tyler.
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