The coaching staff for Year 1 of the Landon Fox Era continued to take shape for the Valparaiso University football program on Tuesday.
Fox has announced that Chris Limbach will serve as the team’s offensive coordinator, while Brian Dougherty has assumed the role of defensive coordinator. Dougherty will also coach the team’s safeties, while Limbach will serve as the position coach for the quarterbacks.
Limbach comes to Valpo after a stint as the offensive coordinator, assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Edinboro University that began in 2016. In his first season, he helped the Fighting Scots go from 0-11 the year prior to 9-2, the biggest turnaround in NCAA Division-II history. His first Edinboro offense set a school record by scoring 40+ points in seven games including two performances of 60 points or more. The team ranked 10th nationally in scoring offense at 41.5 points per game and set school records for points scored (457), yards passing (3,789), pass attempts (549), pass completions (303), touchdown passes (42), scoring offense and total offense per game (433.2).
“Coach Limbach is a very intelligent, cerebral person,” Fox said. “He’s a thinker and he’s very organized. During the interview process, I was impressed by his approach to preparation. He has experience as a successful offensive coordinator and knows how to create systems that put players in positions to be successful. He has an understanding of how to improve a program and has been a part of teams that have made significant win increases.”
Limbach’s Fighting Scots continued to rewrite the school record book in his second season in 2017, when the team established a program mark for single-game total offense with 826 yards in a 69-20 win. The team averaged over 400 yards per game for the second straight season. Under his tutelage, Edinboro’s running back and wide receiver set numerous school records and earned All-American honors. In 2018, he instructed the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.
“I was attracted to Valpo because of the excitement of the new staff coming into the program and the energy of the players,” Limbach said. “During my conversations with Coach Fox, I told him that I thought my organizational and creative abilities could help bring a good brand of offensive football to this program. I’m very thankful for the people I got to work with at Edinboro. My time and experience there was very rewarding and I believe it will serve me well as I begin this new adventure at Valpo.”
Prior to joining Edinboro’s staff, Limbach was the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Centre College from 2012-2015. He guided a group that set a school record for total offense three years in a row, culminating with a 499.1 yards per game average in 2015. The team ranked 16th nationally in total offense in 2015 and his position group boasted six first team all-conference selections and four second team honorees during his tenure.
Limbach was the associate head coach, offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in 2011, the assistant offensive line coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette from 2008-2010 and a student assistant at Eastern Illinois University from 2004-2008. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Eastern Illinois in 2008 and his master’s in communications from Louisiana at Lafayette in 2015.
A native of Edwardsville, Ill., Limbach and his wife Kim have two children: Michael (born 2015) and Abigail (born 2017). Limbach was born in Munster, Ind. and his wife’s family is from the Chicagoland area, so this job has allowed him to move closer to extended family.
Dougherty takes over as Valpo’s defensive coordinator after spending the 2018 season as the defensive backs coach at Tiffin University, where he instructed a first-team all-conference selection and two second-team all-conference honorees and contributed to the team’s 9-2 season. He was the corners coach at the University of Dayton during the 2016 and 2017 seasons when Fox was the defensive coordinator for the Flyers. Dougherty was part of a Dayton defense that held opponents to an average of 19.7 points per game over two seasons while leading the PFL in interceptions in 2016 and finishing second in 2017.
“Having worked for Coach Fox before, I know what type of leader he is and what he stands for,” Dougherty said. “The last staff here at Valpo did a nice job and you can see that this program has the potential to be very successful. I’m excited about the core values that are going to guide the way we run this program. We’re going to do it the right way and we’re going to build great relationships. From my experience at Dayton, I know Coach Fox excels at player development. You’re going to come in as a freshman and leave a better person and player after your time under Coach Fox.”
Before joining the Flyers, Dougherty spent two seasons at Ball State University as a graduate assistant working with wide receivers in 2015 and defensive backs in 2014. Prior to Ball State, he served as the corners coach at Millikin University in 2013.
“Coach Dougherty understands our system from our time together at Dayton,” Fox said. “He knows how I want things done. Three of his greatest strengths are schemes, player relationships and recruiting. He understands how I want to run this program and recognizes the importance of communication, fundamentals and attention to detail.”
Dougherty was a student assistant and manager for the Miami (Ohio) football program from 2010-2012, working with quarterbacks, linebackers and the defensive line. He was part of the 2010 team that won the MAC championship and the GoDaddy.com Bowl. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Miami in 2012 and his master’s in athletic coaching education from Ball State in 2016.
“One strength I try to bring to the table is being a high-energy coach,” Dougherty said. “I coach players hard but also understand the importance of developing relationships with them. I try to find out how each player likes to be coached and how they learn best. That information helps me put together the best plan possible for each player to be successful. Being around the players is my favorite thing about coaching.”
What They’re Saying About Coach Limbach
Wayne Bradford, Edinboro University Head Coach: “Chris Limbach did a great job on and off the field during his tenure at Edinboro. He led an offense that set numerous records in both the passing and rushing game. Chris also did an outstanding job as our recruiting coordinator. Our 2019 class is a great one and Chris was a major factor.”
Ron Hudson, Georgia Southern University Offensive Line Coach: “Chris was a graduate assistant for me for three years. He had just finished being a student coach at Eastern Illinois at that time. He was a quiet, hard-working young man, and he became a heck of a coach. I have recommended him for several jobs over the years, and I’ve always said that anyone who hires Chris will get the best coach they have on staff. He will not only do everything that is expected, but he will exceed all expectations.”
Bobby Babich, Buffalo Bills Safeties Coach: “I’ve known Chris since he started in this profession as a student assistant at Eastern Illinois. He has demonstrated the diligence, passion and knowledge that it takes to be a successful coach and teacher. He is an unbelievable person that is a joy to work with. There is no doubt that Valparaiso football has hired the right individual to lead the offense.”
Andy Frye, Centre College Head Coach: “Valpo got an outstanding football coach. He is highly detail-oriented and genuinely cares about the players. He always wants what’s best for the players and he’s someone who will bring out the best version of them. He’s got a great football mind and a high football IQ. He’s someone who is always trying to get better, and that’s what impressed me about him when he was at Centre. His best football is still ahead of him.”
Jorge Munoz, Louisiana State University Lead Offensive Analyst: “Chris Limbach has been a part of championship programs everywhere he has been. He will help establish a culture of toughness and bring an exciting, well-balanced offensive attack to the football field that will make Valpo proud.”
Justin Lustig, Syracuse University Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator: “Valpo got a winner in Chris Limbach. Coach Limbach was instrumental in our turnaround at Edinboro. He is an elite teacher, game planner and play caller. His family will also be an enormous positive addition to the Valpo community.”
What They’re Saying About Coach Dougherty
Rick Chamberlin, University of Dayton Head Coach: “Coach Fox made a great decision in hiring Brian Dougherty. During the years he worked here at Dayton, I was impressed with his defensive knowledge, but more importantly his coaching skills with his players. I know his defense will be prepared and play hard.”
Mike Yeager, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Teams Coordinator and Defensive Assistant: “Brian is an outstanding coach. First and foremost, he is a great teacher of defensive back technique. He is also very knowledgeable in overall defensive scheme. Most importantly, he truly cares about the overall wellbeing of his players. Valpo has made a great hire for the defensive coordinator position.”
Joey Lynch, Ball State University Offensive Coordinator: “Brian’s knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for the game of football is contagious. He is a tireless worker who will have his players prepared and ready to go every Saturday.”
Pete Lembo, University of Memphis Special Teams Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach: “Brian is a bright young coach who is organized and detail-oriented. He is also a high quality person who will relate very well with the student-athletes and other members of the University community.”
Gary Goff, Valdosta State University Head Coach: “I was very fortunate to have had Brian work on my staff. He is a great coach that has a bright future. Brian has a passion for the game and it carries over to his players. He will be very successful.”