Valparaiso University Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera has announced that head football coach Dave Cecchini has agreed to a contract extension that runs through the 2020 season.
Cecchini has lifted Valpo football to new heights during his time in charge, turning a program that had won just three total games in the four seasons prior to his arrival – all against the same opponent – into one that finished with its first winning season since 2003 in 2017, Cecchini's fourth year.
“During his tenure at Valpo, Dave Cecchini has showed that he is a quality football coach and an individual of high character,” LaBarbera said. “I am extremely proud of the way he has changed the program’s culture and restored the pride in Valpo football. We are beyond thrilled to have Coach Cecchini continue to lead our program for seasons to come.”
The 2017 campaign saw the program turn a corner as Valpo went 6-5 overall and 5-3 in Pioneer Football League play. Cecchini became the first Valpo coach since 2003 to earn Pioneer Football League Coach of the Year honors. In addition, he was recognized as the AFCA FCS Region 4 Coach of the Year and was named a finalist for both the FCS Coach of the Year Award and the FCS National Coach of the Year. The Crusaders finished tied for third in the Pioneer Football League standings after being picked to finish 10th of 11 in the preseason poll.
Valpo is expected to bring back 17 starters in 2018, placing the program in prime position to continue its resurgence.
“The expectations are going to be raised going into next season,” Cecchini said. “We have the talent, leadership and experience we need to compete for a PFL championship. As a team, we have to stay humble and recognize that there is a lot of hard work that must be done between now and the start of the 2018 season for us to be ready to achieve our high goals.”