Dale Carlson was named the 16th head football coach in Valparaiso University history on Jan. 14, 2010, and is just the seventh leader of the program since 1946. In 2013 he will be entering his 25th season as a collegiate head coach overall, having posted a 112-134-3 career mark. He embarks on year four with the Crusader program.
In his first season at the helm of the Brown and Gold, Carlson guided a First Team All-Pioneer Football League punter, and had seven other players earn Honorable Mention All-PFL accolades. His punter, Greg Wood, set a new school record for average yards per punt by more than a yard-and-a-half. Year two saw Wood earn Second Team All-PFL honors while five others garnered Honorable Mention awards.Carlson’s players at Valpo have also excelled in the classroom, as five student-athletes have been voted to the PFL All-Academic Team. One player earned First Team Academic All-District V Team accolades as well. Fifty-one players were named to the PFL Fall Academic Honor Roll in his first two years with the Crusaders.
Carlson arrived at Valpo from Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio, where he guided the Panthers to a 36-27 record over six seasons, including 7-3 marks each of his last two years. At Ohio Dominican, Carlson began the program from scratch prior to the 2004 season. He led the Panthers to an undefeated regular season in 2007 and a Mid-States Football Association-Mideast League championship. ODU went on to defeat The Cumberlands in the NAIA playoffs before finishing the season 12-1 overall. The Panthers’ offense led all of college football averaging more than 50 points per game, while leading NAIA with more than 550 yards of total offense in that same season.
In six years at Ohio Dominican, he produced five All-Americans, seven Academic All-Americans, and more than 90 All-Conference performers. In 2009 he was named the NAIA Independent Coach of the Year while earning MSFA-Mideast League Coach of the Year honors in 2007. He also earned American Football Coaches Association Region II and American Football Monthly/Schutt Sports NAIA National Coach of the Year honors in 2007.
Prior to his stint at Ohio Dominican, Carlson spent eight seasons as the head football coach at Tri-State University in Angola, Ind. There he also began the intercollegiate football program, leading the school to 11 victories in 1998. That same season he led the Thunder to the NAIA semifinals and a number three ranking nationally in the final NAIA poll. He also led Tri-State to the Mideast Conference championship in 2001, the same season he was named the league’s Coach of the Year.
Carlson also has spent four seasons as the head coach at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., as well as three seasons at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wis. He began his collegiate coaching as the offensive line coach at Elmhurst College, and also served as an assistant coach at Franklin College as well as Grand Valley State University prior to his first head coaching position.
A linebacker in college, Carlson earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Concordia University-Chicago majoring in physical education while earning a Master of Science in Education from Chicago State University.
Carlson is a member of the American Football Coaches Association and served as the president of the NAIA Football Coaches Association in 2001 and 2002.
Carlson, and his wife, Karen, have two children, Brian and Katie.