Valparaiso tabs Cecchini to lead football program

2013-12-10T19:30:00Z 2013-12-10T19:51:20Z Valparaiso tabs Cecchini to lead football programBy Paul Oren Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 10, 2013 7:30 pm  • 

Lehigh offensive coordinator Dave Cecchini is bringing his high-powered attack to Valparaiso.

Sources close to the program confirmed multiple internet reports that Valparaiso director of athletics Mark LaBarbera will name Cecchini the 17th head coach in school history on Wednesday morning.

FootballScoop.com was the first to report the hiring while administrators at Valparaiso declined official comment.

LaBarbera is expected to make the announcement official at 11 a.m. during a welcome reception. Cecchini will then address the Valparaiso community.

Cecchini replaces former coach Dale Carlson who was fired Nov. 10 following Valparaiso’s 72-12 loss at Butler. The Crusaders were 3-40 during Carlson’s four years with the program.

Cecchini served as the Lehigh offensive coordinator for the last four years and was on his second stint with the school after serving in the same position at Harvard and The Citadel. The Mountain Hawks have had one of the top offenses on the FCS level and the team scored 28 or more points in all but one game this season while finishing 8-3. Lehigh has gone 39-9 over the last four years with Cecchini running the offense.

In 2011, Cecchini’s second season as offensive coordinator, the Mountain Hawks were in the top 5 nationally in total offense (469.6 yards per game) and passing offense (340.6 yards) with a Patriot League-best 32.5 points per game. Lehigh was nationally ranked this season and finished 8-3.

Cecchini is one of Lehigh’s most decorated football players in program history, having received First Team All-American honors as a wide receiver. His school records for receptions (88) and receiving yards (1,318) in 1993 stood until Ryan Spadola broke both records under Cecchini’s tutelage in 2011.

Cecchini brings plenty of non-scholarship experience to Valparaiso as Lehigh was a non-scholarship program until last summer, when the Patriot League expanded to allow scholarships.

It is unclear if Cecchini will bring any assistants with him from Lehigh and how many of the current members of the Valparaiso coaching staff will retain their positions.

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