Recruits: Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Pennsylvania
Alex Bayer completed his first season on the Valpo football coaching staff in Fall 2021, serving as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.
In his first season with the program, Bayer 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.
Bayer guided the special teams unit to numerous accomplishments in Fall 2021, including leading the nation in blocked kicks with nine, the second most in program history and most since 1991. Valpo was the only team in all of Division-I college football (both FCS and FBS) to block nine kicks during the season. On Oct. 30 at San Diego, Valpo tied a PFL record for blocked kicks in a single game with three. Brett Bittner blocked three kicks during the season, finishing as one of just six players in the FCS nation with three or more. Elsewhere on special teams, Valpo made 12 field goals, tied for the fifth most in program history.
Under Bayer’s tutelage in Fall 2021, punter Ben Niesner averaged 43.2 yards per punt, which ranked third in program history. He finished the season 16th nationally in punting average while leading the PFL. Niesner was selected to the FCS Bowl, Tropical Bowl USA and received FCS Bowl Special Teams MVP honors.
A loaded Fall 2021 specialist group also featured Brian Bartholomew, who finished the season tied for second in single-season program history with 12 made field goals. He also cracked the program record book by finishing with 32 made PATs, a total that ranked fifth all-time. He led the PFL in both field-goal percentage and made field goals per game.
Bartholomew and Niesner represented Bayer’s unit on the Fall 2021 All-PFL First Team, while return specialist Chuck Maxwell received All-PFL Second Team and long snapper Doug Haugh was named All-PFL Honorable Mention. In addition, Connor Hebbeler represented the tight end group with All-PFL Honorable Mention status.
Bayer was a member of the St. Louis Rams active roster from May 2014 to August 2015 and the San Diego Chargers practice squad from September 2015 to January 2016.
Bayer arrives at Valpo after serving as a special teams analyst at Wake Forest University, a role he had held since May 2019. He previously spent time as a tight ends coach at Otterbein University from July 2016 to April 2019.
Bayer was ranked on ESPN.com’s list of the top 75 tight ends in the nation in 2009 on his way to earning a full scholarship to play at Bowling Green State University, where he was a four-year starter and shattered the school record for receptions by a tight end. He was ranked the third best tight end in the state of Ohio in 2009.
What They’re Saying About Coach Bayer
Dave Clawson, Wake Forest Head Coach: “Alex is one of the most talented tight ends I have ever coached. His development as a leader and selfless teammate who was willing to sacrifice for his teammates were his defining qualities as a player, leader, teammate and captain for us at Bowling Green. Due to his high character and football intelligence, I offered Alex a job on our staff at Wake Forest, where he continued to develop for us as a coach.”
Wayne Lineburg, Wake Forest Tight Ends Coach / Special Teams Coordinator: “Alex did an excellent job for us here at Wake Forest in his role as special teams analyst. He worked very hard for our program and was an important member of our staff. Having played tight end in college as well as in the NFL and having worked here as a special teams coach has prepared him well for his role at Valparaiso. He has a bright future ahead of him.”