Rob Hanson returned to the sidelines for the Valparaiso Crusaders for the 2006 season after a year’s hiatus. The Valpo defensive line coach was an integral part of the Crusader coaching staff from 1996 to 2004 prior to taking a year off from football in 2005. For the 2010 season, he moved to the other side of the football and assisted with the offensive line, but returned to coaching the defensive line in 2011.
The 2010 squad saw two offensive linemen earn Honorable Mention All-Pioneer Football League honors under Hanson’s watch and in 2011 he had a defensive lineman earn the same accolades.
Hanson’s defensive line was the front line on a pass defense that finished 11th in the nation in 2008. Two of the defensive linemen went on the earn Honorable Mention All-PFL honors during the year as well. One year later, in 2009, another defensive lineman earned Honorable Mention All-PFL accolades, while another earned Academic All-America honors.
In 2007, Hanson’s defensive line accounted for nearly 50 tackles for loss, including approximately 75 percent of the Crusaders’ 30 sacks on the season. Valpo’s 2.73 quarterback sacks per contest ranked 12th among all NCAA Division I-FCS schools during the season.
One of Hanson’s defensive linemen, Andrew Mack, earned Second Team All-Pioneer Football League honors in 2007, one year after Jimmy Riker earned First Team accolades at the same position.
Hanson spent the final eight years of his first stay with the Brown and Gold as the defensive line coach after tutoring linebackers in his first season. During Valpo’s run to the 2003 Pioneer Football League championship, Hanson’s defensive line recorded 16 of the team’s league-leading 28 sacks. The defensive line also played a significant role in the 2000 PFL championship season, recording 24.5 of Valpo’s 40 sacks. Hanson was instrumental in tutoring three-time First Team All-PFL selection Ric Edgcomb from 1998 to 2001.
Prior to arriving at Valparaiso, Hanson was the head football coach at Highland High School in Highland, Ind., for three years. Before Highland, Hanson served as head football coach at Gavit High School in Hammond, Ind., beginning in 1987. He was a two-time Lake Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, after guiding Gavit to two league championships. Before enjoying success at Gavit, Hanson was the defensive coordinator at Wawasee High School, under head coach Myron Dickerson for four years, helping lead the Warriors to a state runner-up finish.
Hanson also had previous collegiate coaching experience, having served as a part-time offensive line coach at Western Michigan University and two years at Ball State University as a graduate assistant, where he coached the defensive line and the linebackers. As a player, Hanson lettered as an offensive tackle at Ball State.
Hanson earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from Ball State in 1976 and 1980, respectively, in physical education. Hanson and his wife, Linda, have four grown children, Molly, Melissa, Michael, and Mitch.