Defensive coordinator signs extension

Photo: Kha Vo

WATERLOO, ON – Peter Baxter, the director of athletics and recreation at Wilfrid Laurier University, announced on Tuesday that he has re-signed men’s football associate head coach and defensive coordinator Ron VanMoerkerke to a five-year contract extension.

VanMoerkerke, who has been on the Golden Hawks coaching staff for the last 17 seasons, and also holds the role of defensive line coach, will remain a part of head coach Michael Faulds’ staff through the 2021 season.

“Ron has been the rock of our defence for many years,” said Baxter. “He is a true teacher, mentor, coach and friend to his student-athletes and I look forward to continuing to have him a part of our program for the next five years.”

“We are really excited to have Coach VanMoerkerke sign on with us at Laurier Football for another five years,” added Faulds. “Having stability at the defensive coordinator position is vital for not only our team, but also in recruiting. Coach V is a fantastic teacher and our defensive players would run through a wall for him.”

VanMoerkerke is coming off a season in which his defence ranked in the Top 5 nationally in a number of statistical categories, including leading the nation in sacks with 36 and defensive touchdowns with six. The 126 points allowed by the purple and gold was their fewest given up in a season since 2007 and the third fewest that a VanMoerkerke-guided defence has allowed during his tenure.

The 2009 OUA Volunteer Coach of the Year also saw four of his players nab U SPORTS All-Canadian honours and five take home OUA All-Star recognition.

To top it all off, it was VanMoerkerke’s defence that played a key role in helping him capture his third OUA Championship as a coach, and fourth overall, as the group forced two 2-and-outs, as well as forcing and recovering a fumble, in the final eight minutes of the Hawks’ comeback victory over the Western Mustangs in the 109th Yates Cup.

“The defensive numbers speak for themselves and show what a great job Coach VanMoerkerke has done here for so long,” said Faulds on the work VanMoerkerke has done. “Last year we led the country in sacks, defensive touchdowns and were near the top in many other statistical categories and it was this defensive dominance that helped us capture our first Yates Cup in 11 years.”

A former student-athlete with the purple and gold from 1986-89, VanMoerkerke began his tenure on Laurier’s coaching staff in 2000 when he was brought on as a linebackers coach and took over the defensive coordinator responsibilities in 2004. He helped the team win back-to-back Yates Cup Championships in 2004 and 2005, as well as the 2005 Vanier Cup.

In 2013, VanMoerkerke had the role of associate head coach added to his title when the team hired Faulds as its new head coach and he has played an instrumental role in turning a 1-7 team in 2013 into a 7-1 program and Yates Cup champions in just four years.

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