Recruits: Northern Chicago, Fort Wayne, Illinois
Chris Limbach completed his third season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Valpo in Fall 2021.
Limbach was part of a Valpo coaching staff that led the team to its second straight season with a Pioneer Football League record of .500 or better during the Fall 2021 campaign. That marked the first time Valpo had achieved that feat in consecutive seasons since 1999 and 2000. The Beacons won four Pioneer Football League games in the same season for just the third time ever (2017 and Spring 2021) and four league games in any conference for just the third time since 1968.
During the Nov. 6 game vs. Presbyterian and the Nov. 13 game vs. Butler, Valpo totaled 112 points in a two-game span, tying the 2017 squad (vs. Marist, vs. Morehead State) for the program’s most points over two games since 1985. The team’s 65 points in the win over Presbyterian marked its highest single-game scoring output since 1996 and the fifth-highest single-game scoring output in program history.
Valpo scored 298 points during the Fall 2021 campaign, the fifth most in program history. The team rushed for 23 touchdowns, the third most in the program record book and most since 1971. Valpo’s eight rushing TDs vs. Presbyterian shattered a single-game program record. In addition, Valpo finished the season as the only team in FCS and one of four teams in all of Division-I college football (joining Army West Point, Oklahoma State and Michigan) with eight rushing TDs in a single game. Robert Washington became the third 1,000-yard rusher in program history and finished the season with 1,105 rushing yards, second in Valpo lore. He finished in the top 10 nationally in FCS in rushing yards per game and total rushing yards while tying the program record for single-season rushing TDs with 14. Washington ranks ninth in program history in career rushing yards with 1,758 despite having played just 17 games at Valpo.
Washington rushed for 234 yards vs. Presbyterian, the most by a Valpo player in a single game since 2012. He received national attention for that performance, earning a “Helmet Sticker” on ESPN’s College Football Final. In addition, Nick Orekoya’s four rushing TDs vs. Presbyterian tied a program record.
In Fall 2021, one offensive player earned All-PFL First Team honors, and three others notched All-PFL Honorable Mention. In addition, one member of Limbach’s offense earned Academic All-PFL First Team and two others were named to the Academic All-PFL Second Team.
Limbach was on staff in Spring 2021 as Valpo posted its best winning percentage since 2003 and tied for the squad’s best winning percentage since 1999. The team garnered Pioneer Football League runner-up honors, the program’s highest finish in the league standings since the PFL championship season of 2003.
During the Spring 2021 slate, quarterback Chris Duncan finished his senior season among the program’s career leaders in both passing yards (4086, sixth) and total offense (4902, fifth). Duncan finished his career ranked 21st in yards of total offense among active players in Division-I FCS.
Limbach’s Spring 2021 offense also featured running back Robert Washington, who ranked eighth nationally in FCS in rushing yards per game (108.8) on his way to becoming the first Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Year in program history. A unanimous First Team All-PFL choice, Washington had four 100-yard rushing performances in the six-game slate including 199 yards in the season opener against Butler, the ninth-highest single-game rushing output in the FCS nation in Spring 2021.
Valpo eclipsed 150 rushing yards per game for the second time in a 12-year span and the first time since 2014 in Spring 2021. Limbach’s offense outrushed opponents 910-668, its first time gaining more yards on the ground than its opponents since 2007. In addition to boasting Washington on the All-PFL First Team, Limbach’s offense had one All-PFL Honorable Mention (offensive lineman Aaron Byrd), one Academic All-PFL First Team (Drew Parrish) and one Academic All-PFL Second Team (Byrd).
During his first season in 2019, Limbach worked with a pair of quarterbacks who completed the year in the Top 10 in program history in career passing yards. Chris Duncan finished the season with 3,725 career passing yards, eighth in program history, while Jimmy Seewald finished with 4,682, fifth in program history. Both also ranked among the program’s all-time leaders in total offense with Seewald fifth at 4,610 and Duncan seventh at 4,374 through that season.
Limbach aided three offensive players to All-PFL Honorable Mention status in 2019 as fifth-year senior offensive lineman Jack Jarnigan, junior wide receiver Deuce Larose and junior wide receiver Ollie Reese were all recognized.
Limbach made his way to Northwest Indiana 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).
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.
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.
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.”