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Valpo Remembers

William R. “Coach” Koch

Fall 2023

William R. “Coach” Koch ’51, age 93, former football head coach, passed away on August 28, 2023.

Coach Koch was a member of the Valparaiso University football family for nearly 30 years, including 12 seasons (1977-1988) as head coach and 12 seasons (1965-1976) as assistant coach. While earning his bachelor of arts degree, he played on some of the most successful teams in University history. The 1950 and 1951 teams had a combined 18-1 record and played in the only bowl game in University history — the Cigar Bowl in Tampa, Florida on Jan. 1, 1951.

He began his career on the sidelines under legendary Valpo coaches Emery Bauer and Walt Reiner. He then became head coach at Concordia High School in Fort Wayne where two of his players, Larry and Jerry Goeglein, suggested that he ask their older sister out on a date. On June 9, 1956, he married LaDonna Goeglein. After coaching at Concordia, they moved to Valpo and he joined the football staff.

Remaining in Valparaiso after his retirement, Bill was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church and the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club. He is survived by his wife, LaDonna; their children Keith Koch and Kimberly Koch-Govert; grandchildren Dominic and Lucas Govert; and great-grandchildren Evangeline, Collette, Finn, and Quorra Govert.

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