Virginia head football coach Mike London has announced that Scott Wachenheim has joined the Cavalier football coaching staff. He becomes the ninth member of London's staff. He will coach the tight ends position. Wachenheim brings 21 years of collegiate coaching to UVa after spending the 2009 campaign as the tight ends coach with the Washington Redskins.
"I had met and known about Scott for the last couple of years when he was on Danny Rocco's staff at Liberty," said London. "He has a very good background as the tight ends coach with the Redskins and has been an offensive coordinator and has coached the offensive line. It was important for me to get another coach on our staff who could lend their expertise to the run game and the passing game. I think Scott and (graduate assistant coach) Ron Mattes will work well together. Together they will add up to one really big benefit. I am excited about what Scott brings. This is the last of the positions to fill and, if you look at it from top to bottom, these are good men of character, good coaches and good teachers."
Wachenheim returns to the Commonwealth where he spent three seasons (2006-08) as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Liberty in Lynchburg, Va., under former UVa associate head coach Danny Rocco. Prior to the 2007 campaign, Rocco increased Wachenheim's responsibilities, naming him assistant head coach.
"With Mike London, it goes all the way back to when I was coaching at Rice," Wachenheim said. "Mike was the defensive line coach at the Houston Texans and I remember going to watch practice to see the offensive line drills and I could not help but notice the defensive line drills because of the intensity of the coach running them and that happened to be Mike. His intensity there is a memory that has been stuck in my mind.
"I followed Mike when he came back up here and Danny Rocco brought our Liberty staff up here to observer practice. I also followed his Richmond teams closely. I was always impressed with how he handled himself and his teams and the type of character he represents. I had already seen the type of coach he was by watching him coach his position drills. Watching his interviews after Richmond won the national championship, it was very clear that he knew what was important in life. I have always wanted to work with a guy like that. I've been blessed to work for coaches like that in Danny Rocco at Liberty, Ken Hatfield at Arkansas, Bill McCartney at Colorado, Charlie Weatherbie at Utah State and Jim Zorn at the Redskins, so this is an exciting opportunity."
As the offensive coordinator at Liberty in 2008, the Flames went 10-2 on the way to a second straight Big South Conference championship, while averaging 33.7 points and 446.7 yards per game. The latter total ranked ninth in the Football Championship Subdivision and marked the second year in a row Liberty led the conference in total offense as they averaged 429.6 yards a game in 2007, while scoring 42.6 points per contest.
Also in 2008, the Flames topped the 30-point mark in eight of their 12 contests, including scoring at least 42 points on four occasions. In addition, Liberty boasted the conference's leading individual passer, rusher and receiver.
In 2007, Liberty's offense showcased incredible balance, running the football for 215.91 yards per game, while passing the football for 213.73 yards per game, in route to shattering the school and Big South record for points scored in a season (469). The Flames' offense ranked among the nation's top 20 teams in nine categories. In 2006, Liberty's offense also ranked in the nation's elite in eight categories.
Liberty offensive success was aided by physical play from its offensive line. Liberty's entire starting five offensive line garnered Big South all-conference honors in 2007, while in 2006 three Flame offensive linemen were selected all-conference. Additionally, Stephen Sene signed a free agent contract with the NFL's St. Louis Rams organization.
Highlighting Wachenheim's offense during his three years at Liberty was three-year starting running back Rashad Jennings, a seventh round selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2009 NFL Draft. A Walter Payton Award finalist and consensus first-team All-America selection, Jennings set Big South career records for rushing yards (3,633), attempts (633) and touchdowns (42).
Prior to his days with the Flames, Wachenheim spent 12 years as a member of Ken Hatfield's coaching staff at Rice in Houston, Texas. He spent the last five years with the Owls as offensive coordinator.
Wachenheim helped Rice build a dominant ball control offense which ranked among the nation's best during his tenure.
During the 2004 season, Rice led the nation in rushing offense (306.5 yards per game), and the Owls' 2003 squad ranked second in the country, racking up a school record of 3,800 rushing yards. In 2001, Wachenheim's direction enabled Rice to break the school record for points scored (333) and total offense (4,846 yards).
Prior to joining the Rice staff, Wachenheim served as recruiting coordinator, offensive tackles and tight ends coach at Utah State (1992-93). He culminated his tenure at the school with a Big West Conference title and a Las Vegas Bowl victory in 1993. Wachenheim got his collegiate coaching career started in 1984. After graduating from the Air Force Academy with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, he served as offensive coordinator of the Air Force Academy's junior varsity squad. He then went on to complete his military requirements.
Wachenheim returned to the coaching ranks at Arkansas in 1989-90, helping the Razorbacks to a Southwest Conference championship and a Cotton Bowl invitation. Additionally, Wachenheim earned his master's degree in athletic administration from the school in 1991.
Wachenheim spent the 1991 football season at Colorado under the leadership of head coach Bill McCartney, helping the Buffaloes win the Big 8 Conference championship and earn a berth in the Blockbuster Bowl.
As a player, Wachenheim was a four-year starter (1980-83) on the offensive line at the Air Force Academy. He earned first-team All-Western Athletic Conference and honorable mention All-American honors his senior year. The 1983 Falcons finished with a 10-2 season record, were ranked second in the nation in rushing offense, and were tabbed as the nation's 13th-ranked team overall.
A native of Woodland Hills, Calif., Wachenheim and his wife, Karla, have two sons: Kyle and Tyson.
In addition to Wachenheim being hired as the tight ends coach, London also announced the position assignments for the previous appointments to his staff. Jim Reid will act as defensive coordinator. Bill Lazor will be offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Jeff Hanson will be the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. Anthony Poindexter will coach safeties and special teams. Vincent Brown will coach the linebackers and Chip West will coach the cornerbacks. Mike Faragalli will coach running backs and Shawn Moore will handle wide receivers. Graduate assistant coach Ron Mattes will coach the offensive line and be assisted by graduate assistant Gordie Sammis. Rounding out the staff are video graduate assistants Josh Zidenberg and Brennan Schmidt. Mattes, Sammis, Zidenberg and Schmidt all played at Virginia.