Tigers new football coach named

Published 10:19 am Friday, December 15, 2023

They say he’s a tireless recruiter, someone who helps raise a team’s standard. Even opposing coaches call him one of the best and brightest in NCAA Division III football. And now Vince Luvara will take over as the 29th head football coach in Hampden-Sydney history. 

Luvara takes the place of Marty Favret, who retired at the end of this latest season, his 24th with the Tigers. Favret retires with a number of achievements. He stands as the all-time winningest coach in program history at 151-90. During his time at Hampden-Sydney, the Tigers have had 16 winning seasons, with five Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championships and six appearances in the NCAA Division III Football Championship. He also retires as the longest-tenured collegiate football head coach in the Commonwealth. 

In his place steps Luvara, who has been the defensive coordinator at Washington & Jefferson (W&J) (Pennsylvania) College since 2016. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native is no stranger to Division III football, having played four years at Allegheny (Pennsylvania) College, coached one year at Allegheny and two years at Misericordia (Pennsylvania) University.

“We are excited to start writing the next chapter in the history of Hampden-Sydney football, and we look forward to the contributions Vince Luvara will make to build on the progress Marty Favret has made to strengthen the program,” said Hampden-Sydney President Larry Stimpert. “We’re impressed by Vince’s appreciation for Hampden-Sydney’s football traditions, his commitment to the College’s values and mission of forming good men and good citizens, and his track record as an outstanding recruiter of student-athletes. He brings a wealth of experience and coaching talent to our Tiger football program.”

MORE ABOUT LUVARA’S BACKGROUND

Luvara brings his own set of credentials to Hampden-Sydney. For the last eight years he worked as both defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for Washington & Jefferson, helping the Presidents to a 66-16 record during that time. While he was at the school, Washington & Jefferson made two NCAA Division III playoff appearances and won four of five Eastern College Athletic Conference bowl championships. 

Now what about the defense Luvara led, you ask? At Washington & Jefferson last year, Luvara’s defense gave up just 12.7 points per game. That was good enough for 15th in Division III. The Presidents yielded just one touchdown or less in four games during 2023, including one shutout. 

Overall, during the time he was at the school, Washington & Jefferson produced 64 All-Conference defensive selections, including 23 First Time honorees and three All-Americans. 

Since 2017, a Luvara-led defense has not given up more than 18 points per game. He takes over a Tigers team that finished 6-4 this season, including a 49-10 loss in the latest edition of ‘The Game’ against Randolph-Macon. Luvara said he’s looking forward to getting started. 

“I would like to thank Dr. Stimpert, Chad Eisele and the rest of the search committee for this opportunity,” Luvara said. “My wife Stacey and I could not be more excited to join the Hampden-Sydney community. I am really looking forward to getting to work with the student-athletes and to get to know the alumni. Hampden-Sydney is truly a special place and it is because of its people. I look forward to helping to build the football program into a sustained winner and to help form good men and good citizens.”

Before coaching, Luvara played inside linebacker at Allegheny. He totaled 75 career tackles, including 26 solo and 49 assisted, one interception and four pass breakups.

COACHES SAY HE’S EARNED THE SPOT 

Both Luvara’s former coaches and some of his competition praised the hire, saying he more than earned the opportunity. 

“(Coach Luvara) is ready to be a head coach and to lead his own program,” said Washington & Jefferson Head Coach Mike Sirianni. “During his time here at W&J, he has elevated our play and raised the standard for our defense. Vince is also a tremendous recruiter as he builds strong relationships with both prospective and current student-athletes.”

Competitors also praised Luvara, both on and off the field. 

“Anytime we went to prepare for Washington & Jefferson and Vince’s defenses, we knew we would be in for a fight,” said Carnegie Mellon Head Coach Ryan Larsen. “Vince does a great job of presenting lots of looks to opposing offenses, while more importantly maximizing his talent. I know he is a tireless recruiter, and will find great players to play for the Tigers. Vince will do a great job at Hampden-Sydney College.”

The tireless recruiting comment was something that echoed in most of the coaches that discussed Luvara’s hire. 

“It has been well known in our conference for years that Vince has been one of the brightest and most successful coordinators in the PAC,” said Westminster Head Coach Scott Benzel. “His tireless approach to recruiting and his commitment to making his players the best they can be, will be a great asset to Hampden-Sydney. Over the course of my tenure here at Westminster, I have grown to respect and enjoy competing against Vince and his top ranked defense yearly. I have no doubt he will do great things at Hampden-Sydney.”

Luvara and his wife are expected to move into the area within the next month.