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Penn State names Moorhead offensive coordinator

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Veteran coach brings 18 years of collegiate coaching experience, including four as Fordham's head coach to the Nittany Lions

Penn State head coach James Franklin has named Fordham University head coach Joe Moorhead as the Nittany Lions' offensive coordinator. Moorhead brings 18 years of collegiate coaching experience to Penn State, including the last four as Fordham's head coach.

"We are very excited to have Joe join our Penn State Football family," Franklin said. "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," Franklin continued. "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."

"I am incredibly excited to join the Penn State Football family," Moorhead 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."

After inheriting a program that went 1-10, Moorhead steadily built Fordham into a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff regular, along the way, leading the Rams to their best season in program history in 2013 and the Patriot League title in 2014. Moorhead earned a 38-13 record as the Rams' head coach with three consecutive berths in the FCS playoffs.

During his tenure, Moorhead produced the highest ranking in program history (#5 in 2013), highest final ranking in program history (#9 in 2013 and 2014), the first two wins over FBS schools in program history and the first two wins over top-10 opponents in school history. Moorhead guided the 2014 Jerry Rice Award for the NCAA FCS Rookie of the Year, three consecutive Patriot League Offensive Players of the Year, 11 All-Americans, five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and 55 All-Patriot League performers (37 first team, 18 second team) while with the Rams.

Under Moorhead, the Rams were consistently one of the top offensive teams in FCS. In 2015, Fordham is second in team passing efficiency (168.30), ninth in scoring offense (36.8), 19th in total offense (453.3), 20th in passing offense (272.3), 17th in third down conversion (.456) and 19th in first down offense (262). The Rams were in the top 10 in team passing efficiency (3rd; 156.23), passing offense (4th; 326.1), scoring offense (5th; 40.6), total offense (7th; 494.1) and first down offense (9th; 331) in 2014. In 2013, Fordham was in the top 10 in completion percentage (1st; .706), passing offense (3rd; 360.9), third down conversion (3rd; .500), first down offense (3rd; 364), team passing efficiency (5th; 163.43) and total offense (7th; 515.3). The Moorhead-led offense set 16 school records (individual and team) in 2013 and 2014.

This season, the Rams posted a 9-3 record with a victory over FBS foe Army to highlight the schedule. Fordham made its third consecutive postseason appearance, falling to Chattanooga in the first round of the FCS playoffs. In 2014, Moorhead led the Rams to their first Patriot League title since 2007 with a perfect 6-0 mark in league play and an 11-3 record overall.

In one of the most impressive seasons in school history, Moorhead guided the Rams to a 12-2 record in 2013, which included the program's first win over an FBS opponent (Temple) and the school's first two wins over top 10 opponents (Villanova, Lehigh). He also helped the Rams to their second FCS playoff win in school history. For his efforts, Moorhead was named the 2013 AFCA Regional Co-Coach of the Year and Patriot League Coach of the Year. He was also a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award and the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year.

In his first season at Fordham, Moorhead took a team that was 1-10 the previous year and turned them into a 6-5 team, which was the second-best turnaround in FCS in 2012. Moorhead's six wins were the most by a first-year Fordham head coach since Jim "Sleepy" Crowley had six wins in his first season in 1933. In 2012, the Rams finished in the top 20 in FCS in total offense (20th; 435.7), rushing yards per game (4th; 156.1) and passing offense (18th; 279.6).

Before returning to take the helm at his alma mater, Moorhead spent three seasons at Connecticut, including two as the offensive coordinator. He helped lead the Huskies to 2010 Big East Championship and a berth in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl. That season, UConn led the Big East in red zone offense, turnover margin, fewest sacks allowed and fourth down conversion percentage. Jordan Todman led the Huskies offense, finishing second in FBS in rushing while earning second team All-America honors.

Moorhead was at Akron for five seasons, serving as the offensive coordinator for three seasons. The 2008 Zips were one of 17 teams to rank in the top 50 in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense and scoring offense in FBS. That team was considered the most improved team in total offense and third-most improved team in scoring offense. Moorhead coached 13 all-conference players while with Akron, including All-American Jabari Arthur and freshman All-American David Harvey.

Additionally, Moorhead spent four seasons at Georgetown where he served as the offensive coordinator for one season, quarterbacks coach for three and the running backs coach for a season. Hoya quarterback David Paulus led the Patriot League and was sixth in FCS in passing efficiency (151.9) in 2002. Moorhead also spent a pair of seasons as a graduate assistant at Pitt.

As a collegiate player at Fordham, Moorhead was a three-year starting quarterback and team captain as a senior. He was a second team All-Patriot League selection in 1995 after finishing 13th in FCS in total offense. He held the school records for completions and passing yards at the time of his graduation.

A native of Pittsburgh, Moorhead graduated from Pittsburgh Central Catholic. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Fordham in 1996. Moorhead and his wife, Jennifer, have a daughter, Kyra (14), and two sons, Mason (12) and Donovan (7).

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