ODU Football Hires Kevin Decker and Alex Huettel to Offensive Staff

By Art Neal and Benjamin Draper

With the conclusion of the 2022-23 football season for the ODU Monarchs, head coach Ricky Rahne realized that it was time for a change. The season started strong but spiraled out of control, ending with the Monarchs finishing 3-9 at the bottom of the Sun Belt East. The ODU offense struggled to put points on the board in the latter part of the season; they are 117th in FBS at 19.5 points per game. 

In addition, the Monarch’s leading receiver WR Ali Jennings and the leading rusher RB Blake Watson have said that they would enter the transfer portal for their respective years of eligibility. The Monarchs will also lose junior tight end Zack Kuntz and junior offensive lineman Nick Saldiveri to the 2023 NFL Draft. 

The solution for the Monarchs will hopefully come in the additions of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Kevin Decker, who will be Rahne’s third offensive coordinator in his tenure here at Old Dominion. Decker made a significant impact during his time at Fordham University, where he recently helped the Rams to a 9-3 record and a berth in the FCS playoff. The Rams’ offensive production this past season was astounding as they averaged 49.5 PPG, which was second among FCS programs. 

Before arriving at Fordham, Decker was a 2012 graduate from the University of New Hampshire, where he was the quarterback for the Wildcats and was named the CAA Player of the Year and a finalist for the Walter Payton Award in 2011. Decker began coaching in 2013 for two years as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the Brunswick School in Connecticut. Decker began his collegiate coaching career in 2015 as an offensive intern at Montana State. He helped the Bobcats lead the FCS in yards per play, touchdowns per game and red zone touchdown percentage. Prior to arriving in Fordham, Decker spent three seasons at Brown University, including the 2018 season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He spent his first two years as the tight ends coach. 

In 2019, Decker took over a Fordham offense that was ranked No. 119-of-124 teams. During his tenure, he has led the Patriot League in scoring offense and total offense each of the last four seasons which has been pretty dominant. The Rams quarterback senior Tim DeMorat finished with 4891 passing yards and 56 passing TD with only 10 interceptions. This stellar performance was supplemented as Fordham had three receivers with more than 1000 yards receiving. The leader among wideouts was senior wide receiver Fotis Koksoiulis, who had 103 receptions for 1312 yards and 14 touchdowns. 

The run game was also dominant; the Rams had two rushers with 800+ rushing yards. Graduate student running back Trey Sneed rushed for 1141 yards on 197 attempts with five rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns. 

Decker will be coming into a young program where he will have QB Hayden Wolff returning as well as Notre Dame transfer QB Brendon Clark. His receiver core will also have a chance to come into their own as names; Ahmarian Granger, Javon Harvey and Jordan Bly will have an increased role in the offense with the departure of Jennings. The running back committee will have a chance to shine as RBs like Keshawn Wicks, Tariq Sims and Obi Sanni will have to fight for the starting job after Watson’s exit. Along with Decker, he will be bringing in Alex Huettel as the offensive line coach. 

Huettel began his coaching career at his alma-mater,  Bowling Green University, in 2016. He was a four-year starter on the offensive line, and started 55-straight games for the Falcons. He was a three-time All-MAC performer and a Phil Steele All-American in 2015. Before transitioning to a offensive graduate assistant at the University of Cincinnati in 2019, Huettel was a offensive line/strength and conditioning coach at Gannon University, a division II program in Pennsylvania. In 2020, Huettel was brought into Fordham to help with the o-line which was a success. He coached three members of his position group to three All-Patriot League honors. 

When asked about the new acquisitions, head coach Ricky Rahne did not hold back his excitement for the potential Decker and Huettel could bring to the program in order to take the next leap forward. 

“I am extremely excited to add both Kevin and Alex. The offensive production and excitement that these hires bring to the 757 will continue to push this program to the next level,” Rahne stated. 

Overall, the Monarchs look forward to the chance to bounce back in their sophomore campaign in the Sun Belt Conference and are hopeful that Decker will be able to orchestrate success on the offensive side of the ball.