(NORTH CANTON, Ohio) – Walsh University Vice President and Director of Athletics Dale Howard has named Dan Pifer as the new head coach of the Cavalier football team. Pifer, a native of Celina, Ohio, joins Walsh from Olivet College.
Pifer's primary focus will be to tap into the rich history of football in the area. Through his coaching experience and the college teams he has competed against regionally, Pifer is no stranger to the abundance of talent in Northeast Ohio.
"I think this place is a gold mine," said Coach Pifer. "It will be a brand new start with a new league with a lot of schools that are similar in mind set. My priority is to recruit locally within the state of Ohio with a special emphasis on Northeast Ohio as there are plenty of good kids and strong players within our local community. It will also be a great opportunity to get back to the Division II level and be involved with scholarships again."
"In Dan Pifer, we have hired a successful coach with a track record of building football programs by instilling player self-esteem and motivation," added Athletic Director Dale Howard. "Dan espouses the philosophy that winning begins with building relationships and trust with the coaching staff, players, parents, fans, and alumni. His enthusiasm to develop student-athletes both on and off the field of play makes him a great fit with Walsh University and our mission of developing the total student in mind, body and spirit."
This past season, Pifer guided the Comets to a 9-2 record with an appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs. Olivet went a perfect 6-0 in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA) to win the conference championship and tie a program record for wins in a season.
Pifer led the Comets for five seasons as the head coach and quickly turned around the program into a power in the MIAA. After going 0-10 in his first season, he led Olivet to a 6-4 season the next two years. In 2015, Pifer led his team to a 9-1 record to set the new school record for wins in a season, were co-champions of the MIAA with a 5-1 record.
Prior to joining Olivet, Pifer was the offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator, and special teams coordinator at Trine (Ind.) University for six seasons. While there, he helped guide the Thunder into a national power with three NCAA Division III playoff appearances from 2008 to 2010. This included three-straight conference championships with undefeated MIAA seasons. Trine went 41-7 during that time and won 20-straight games both at home and within the MIAA.
Pifer coached Eric Watt, who won the 2010 NCAA Division III Gagliardi Trophy for being the nation's player of the year. That season, Trine led the nation in Division III in scoring offense at 47 points per game.
Pifer has also coached at Bellmont High School for four years, Hillsdale College for two years, University of St. Francis (Ind.) for three years, and St. Joseph's (Ind.) College for one year.
He earned his bachelor's degree in political science from California University of Pennsylvania in 1995 where he was a quarterback for the Vulcans.