Penn State football officially announced the hiring of Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead as the program’s new offensive coordinator on Saturday night.
“We are very excited to have Joe join our Penn State Football family,” head coach James Franklin said, per Penn State Athletics. “He has distinguished himself as a head coach who made a dramatic impact at Fordham University. His approach and vision offensively is very similar to ours: hard-nosed, blue collar and explosive!
We completed an exhaustive search of many candidates and his name kept rising to the top.
Head coach James Franklin
“We completed an exhaustive search of many candidates and his name kept rising to the top. Many factors led to this decision. Joe’s makeup as a person and leader is outstanding. He is originally from Pittsburgh and has strong relationships throughout Pennsylvania and the region. He brings invaluable perspective to our staff as a former head coach. Most importantly his offensive production as a coordinator and head coach speaks for itself.”
The athletic department released a statement from Moorhead as well.
“I am incredibly excited to join the Penn State Football family,” he said. “My family and I are thrilled to be coming home. It is an unbelievable opportunity to help contribute to a program with a rich tradition and promising future. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.”
Reports said earlier Saturday afternoon that Moorhead had been hired as the new offensive coordinator at Penn State.
Tom Loy, a 247 Sports reporter with several ties to players on Fordham’s football team, said Moorhead has been hired and will address his players on Saturday night.
FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman also reported that a source told him Penn State was “set to hire” Moorhead.
Penn State journalism student Tyler Feldman tweeted early Saturday morning that Fordham players told him Moorhead was taking the job.
Former Penn State offensive coordinator John Donovan was fired following the Nittany Lions’ loss to Michigan State in their last regular-season game. If Moorhead is hired, he will not coach in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville on Jan. 2, according to prior statements made by Franklin. Instead, quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne will call plays while Moorehead observes the program and personnel.
Moorhead, a native of Pittsburgh who attended Central Catholic, and former Fordham quarterback who graduated in 1996, became the head coach of the Rams in 2012, after the team suffered a 1-10 season the year prior. Moorhead coached the team to a 6-5 record the following year, and then won 10-straight games to open the 2014 season.
Last season, the Rams averaged 453.3 yards of offense per game, had 56 offensive touchdowns (59 total) and ranked No. 9 in the FCS with 36.8 points per game. In 2014, the Rams scored 40.6 points per game behind FCS Rookie of the Year, running back Chase Edmonds.
Fordham has also managed FBS upsets of Temple and Army under the head coach.
The 42-year-old Moorhead posted a 38-13 record during his time coaching the Rams. In 2013, he was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year, the AFCA Regional Co-Coach of the Year and a finalist for both the Eddie Robinson Award as the NCAA FCS national Coach of the Year and the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.
Prior, he was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Connecticut for three years, during which time he helped the Huskies to a Big East conference title and Fiesta Bowl appearance against Oklahoma in 2010 and a win over South Carolina in the PapaJohns.com Bowl in 2009.
Moorhead also was an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at Akron from 2004-08.