Denny Dorrel was introduced as Bluffton University’s new head football coach on Thursday afternoon at a press conference in front of local media outlets, university employees, and current players.
Dorrel comes to Bluffton from Hanover College in Indiana, a rival within the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC). At Hanover, Dorrel served as defensive coordinator. He is also a 2001 graduate of Hanover. Last season, Hanover finished one game in front of Bluffton in both HCAC play (5-3 vs. 4-4) and in overall record (5-5 vs. 4-6).
Dorrel said that as a head coach, “the main goal is to graduate players, period.” Bluffton University Athletics Director, Phill Talavinia, said that this was one of the factors that stood out about Dorrel to the search committee for a new head coach. Talavinia said that the search committee was impressed with Dorrel’s organization and passion, along with his “focus on the student-athletes as being students first; completing their education, and winning both in life and on the field.”
“From this point forward…you are going to see a passionate program,” Dorrel said. Dorrel said that his players will be individuals who are energetic, who fly around, and who do things the right way. Dorrel also expressed that he wants the football program to be “heavily involved in the community and the campus itself.”
Dorrel expressed that he is excited to get started on getting the program “where we all expect it to be, which is winning championships.” He went on to say that “we are so excited to take Bluffton University football to unprecedented heights.”
Dorrel said that his coaching style and philosophy originates from the personalities of his parents. “My father was very tough…and demanding,” said Dorrel. Dorrel said that his father demanded discipline and understood how those traits could be positive when raising a young man. On the other hand, Dorrel explained that his mother was a very nurturing person “who would let you know how important you are.” “I combine those two (personalities) very well, I’m a perfect mixture of my parents,” Dorrel said.
“Bluffton football, from now on, is all going to be about family,” Dorrel said.
Dorrel has also served in previous coaching roles at Marietta College in Ohio and Thomas More College in Kentucky, but Bluffton is his first head coaching role at the college level. Dorrel is filling the open head football coaching vacancy at Bluffton due to the departure of Tyson Veidt, who held the position since 2008. Veidt accepted the position of linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Toledo earlier this year. Veidt posted an overall record regular season record of 20-40 as head coach at Bluffton, but was 17-15 in HCAC play since 2010. Despite a winning record in conference play since 2010, four of Veidt’s losses in that span came against Hanover.
Originally from Brookville, Ind., Dorrel said that he felt like Bluffton was home on the day he drove into town for his interview. Dorrel is married to his wife, Sarah, they have three children.