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Five finalists named for UW-RF football job

UW-River Falls has named five finalists, including two who will be coaching against each other in this Saturday's Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, as candidates to be the university's new head football coach.

All five finalists will be interviewed on campus between Dec. 14-20. There will be open forums for each candidate in the University Center's Kinnickinnic Theater.

The new coach will replace John O'Grady, who retired at the end of the 2010 season after 22 years as Falcon head coach.

Among the finalists is former Falcon assistant coach Kevin Bullis, currently the assistant run coach and special teams coach at UW-Whitewater. Bullis has coached at Whitewater since 2008 and was part of the Warhawks 2009 national championship team.

The Warhawks are preparing to face Mount Union College for the sixth straight season in the NCAA Division III National Championship game Saturday in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Salem, Va.

Vincent Kehres, currently an assistant coach at Mount Union, is another finalist for the Falcons' job. Kehres has been the defensive coordinator at Mount Union since 2005 and has been part of the Purple Raiders 2005, 2006 and 2008 national championship teams.

The other candidates are UW-Stevens Point offensive coordinator Aaron Vlcko, Wartburg College defensive coordinator Joel Dettwiler and Butler University assistant coach Matt Walker.

Bullis, a 1989 graduate of UM-Morris, spent 12 seasons as the UW-RF defensive coordinator under O'Grady from 1995-2007.

Bullis has coaching experience at UM-Morris (1988-89) and Gustavus Adolphus (1993-95). He also coached linebackers at UW-RF from 1990-93. He earned his master's degree from UW-RF in 1992.

Kehres is the son of Mount Union head coach Larry Kehres, who has coached the Purple Raiders to 10 national championships in the last 24 years.

Vincent Kehres, a 1998 Mount Union graduate, was named the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference assistant coach of the year in 2006. He has coached offensive linemen, defensive linemen and linebackers at Mount Union. He earned a master's degree from Ashland University in 2002.

Prior to coaching at UW-Stevens Point, Vlcko was interim head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Truman State University in 2009. From 2005-08 he was the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Truman. In the 2003 and 2004 seasons he was the quarterback and running back coach at Coe College.

Vlcko coached from 1996-2003 at Bemidji State University, where he held offensive coordinator, running back and quarterback coaching positions. From 1994-96 he coached running backs at Lindenwood College. He earned his undergraduate degree from Coe in 1994 and master's degrees from Lindenwood and Bemidji State.

Dettwiler, a 1997 graduate of UW-Platteville, has been the defensive coordinator at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, since 2008. He has been coaching at Wartburg since 2004. Wartburg qualified for the NCAA Division III playoffs in 2004, 2008 and 2010.

From 2000-04 Dettwiler coached defensive backs and defensive linemen at UW-Platteville. He has earned master's degrees from UW-Madison and UW-Platteville.

Walker coached tight ends at Butler University this year. From 2006-09 he was the head coach at DePauw University, where his teams finished the three seasons with a 22-8 record. From 2000-05 he was an assistant coach in charge of running backs at DePauw.

A 1999 graduate of DePauw, Walker also coached the DePauw baseball team from 2001-09 and won five conference championships. He earned his master's degree from Indiana State in 2001.

Vlcko visited the UW-RF campus Tuesday while Dettwiler will be on campus for an open forum Wednesday, Dec. 15, from 2-3 p.m. Walker's open forum will be held Thursday, Dec. 16, from 2-3 p.m. and Kehres will visit Monday, Dec. 20, from 2-3 p.m. while Bullis will be here Tuesday, Dec. 21, from 1-2 p.m.

All open forums will be held in the University Center's Kinnickinnic Theater.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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