ROCKFORD, Ill. - Rockford University head football coach J.T. Zimmerman has announced the promotion of Dan Kleppin to defensive coordinator effective immediately. Kleppin has spent the last four years as a member of the RU football coaching staff, most recently serving as the team's linebackers coach. In addition to serving as the team's defensive coordinator, Kleppin will continue to oversee and work with the linebackers.
"I could not be more excited to have Coach Kleppin take over as our new defensive coordinator," Coach Zimmerman stated. "We played together for four years in college and have now coached together for another four years. His knowledge of the front seven compliments my knowledge of the secondary very well, and I look forward to working with him to build upon the success we have had on the defensive side of the ball here at Rockford."
Over the past four years with Kleppin on staff, Rockford's defensive units have consistently been in the top three in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference in multiple categories each season. Rockford led the NACC in total defense, pass defense and fumble recoveries, and finished second in points per game and rushing defense in 2015. This past season, the Regents ranked second in total defense, rushing defense and defensive touchdowns and third in points per game. Rockford also had one of its best overall years in a decade last season. The Regents had more overall and conference wins this past season than in any single year since 2007. Rockford also defeated both Lakeland University and Concordia University Wisconsin for the first time in program history.
The Regents have also seen a lot of individual success on the defensive side of the ball since Kleppin joined the RU coaching staff. Dating back to the 2015 season, the RU defense has had 11 all-conference performers, five NACC Defensive Players of the Week, one all-region selection and one All-American. The Regents have also had 32 football players named NACC Scholar-Athletes over the past three years.
Kleppin came to Rockford following a stellar four-year career at Benedictine where he was twice selected all-conference as a defensive end during his career as an Eagle. Kleppin earned Second Team All-NACC honors as a junior in 2009 and capped off his career with a First Team All-NACC selection the following season. During his senior year, Kleppin was also voted a team captain and helped lead Benedictine to a NACC Championship and its first ever playoff appearance.
The Rockford University football team will open its 2019 season on the road on Saturday, September 7 at MacMurray College. The Regents are scheduled to kick-off the home portion of their schedule on Saturday, October 5 against Wisconsin Lutheran College.