Football Coaches
Landon Fox
Head Coach
Chris Limbach
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Brian Dougherty
Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach
Jon Robinson
Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
Brannon Dunn
Defensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator
Brad Bustle
Offensive Line Coach
Fred Gladney
Wide Receivers Coach
Alex Curtis
Associate Director of Sport Performance
Cory Colder
Running Backs Coach
Barry Derickson
Tight Ends Coach
RJ Ghilarducci
Nickelbacks Coach
Jackson Smith
Defensive Tackles Coach
Shane Heston
Director of Recruiting
Madison Soliday
Assistant Director of Football Operations
Dena Smiley
Administrative Assistant
Full List
RJ Ghilarducci

RJ Ghilarducci

Nickelbacks Coach


RJ Ghilarducci has joined the Valpo football staff for 2020 after spending the last three seasons at the University of San Diego, where he served in multiple roles including assistant defensive backs coach, assistant defensive line coach and specialists coach. While at San Diego, he was part of three Pioneer Football League championship teams and multiple FCS playoff appearances. His position groups produced seven all-PFL performers, including FCS all-time sacks leader Jonathan Petersen. In addition, Ghilarducci was part of the first nonscholarship program to win a playoff game in FCS history.

Prior to San Diego, Ghilarducci worked as a defensive line and outside linebackers intern at the University of Oregon, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2015 and was an all-conference rugby player. He graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 2010 in his hometown of El Dorado Hills, Calif.

What They’re Saying About Coach Ghilarducci

“RJ has three qualities that you always want in a coach. He’s smart. He’s passionate. He’s a worker. He is going to do a great job at Valparaiso.” -Six-time NBA All-Star, 1989 NBA Finals MVP and NBA Hall of Famer Joe Dumars, 1985-1999 Detroit Pistons

“RJ is a tireless worker who will do whatever it takes to make sure the job is done right. Valpo has hired a good one.” -Jacques Cesaire, Buffalo Bills Assistant Defensive Line Coach

“We were very fortunate to stumble upon RJ quite some time ago. He came here as an intern and was one of the best we’ve ever had. He is extremely intelligent and does a great job with breakdowns and working with computers. He’s one of those guys who has a feel for coaching and is able to see the big picture and the small parts that make it all work. We were fortunate to have him here and we hope that he has a wonderful coaching career. We think he’ll go far.” -Dale Lindsey, University of San Diego Head Coach