William R. “Coach” Koch, 93, of Valparaiso passed away Monday, August 28, 2023. He was born February 10, 1930, in Chicago, IL to William O. & Leona (Leverenze) Koch. Coach received a B.A. degree from Valparaiso University where he also played football, qualifying for the Cigar Bowl in Florida with an undefeated team in 1951, and received his master’s degree from Indiana University. Bill began his coaching career under Em Bauer & Walt Reiner at V.U., then became head coach at Concordia High School in Fort Wayne where two of his players, Larry & Jerry Goeglein, recommended that he ask their older sister out on a date. On June 9, 1956 he married LaDonna Goeglein. He then returned to Valparaiso University serving as their beloved head coach for nearly 30 years. Bill was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church and the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club, imparting his comedic wisdom wherever he went. His creative writing projects late in life showcased the colorful happenings of his younger years and his keen, light-hearted observations of what might have been mundane occurrences to anyone else. Of course, cheering on his beloved Chicago Bears and White Sox was a given along with all Valparaiso University teams.
Survivors include his wife, LaDonna, their children; Keith Koch of Valparaiso & Kimberly Koch-Govert of Pittsford, NY, grandchildren; Dominic & Lucas Govert, and great-grandchildren, Evangeline “Eva”, Collette “Coco”, Finn & Quorra Govert.
A visitation will be held Friday from 3 – 5 pm at Immanuel Lutheran Church 1700 Monticello Park Dr., Valparaiso with funeral service beginning at 5:00 pm. Memorial donations may be made to the Bill Koch Memorial Sports Field at Immanuel Lutheran School.
Very warm and deepest sympathy, LaDonna, Keith and Kim, on your loss of a really good guy. -Peg Massucci
Rest in peace Coach. You were a good man and a good role model for your players. Thank you for what you did for me. -Mike Seall
Coach Koch will always be remembered by me. In our senior year (1964) Coach Koch took me aside and said that I matured a lot in my four years at Concordia High School, and that he thought I will make something out of my life. Thanks to Coach Koch's encouraging words, God has been good to me and allowed me to serve our Lord through my missions work. My condolences to the family doing this hard time,. We can all have a warm heart, knowing that we will see Coach Koch again when we enter into God's glory. -Denny Vogel
Bill was probably the most influential mentor at Concordia High School for young male athletes. The ONLY REASON I ran track my Senior year is because I Owed him. He was SCARY early, but turned into a Teady Bear as our senior roled around . My wife and I stopped at his home in Valparaiso 2 years ago for a wonderful visit with Ladona and him. Ohhhh the old stories that came out. I reminded him that my FIRST love was when I was in 5th grade (1953) at Bethlehem and that was our new, beautiful neighbor, second grade teacher Ladona Goeglein. Hugs and prayers for all the family members from Judy and me! -Gary Novak
We' miss Bill and his jovial greetings, under a hat, already. I met Bill in 1950 - we were VU students in Dorm C, sharing a bathroom. I was impressed by Bill and his 3 football
team roommates holding daily Bible & catchism studies to prep several of them for Confirmation. When his body weakened , I can still recall his friendly greetings from a comfortable chair in Immanuel's Fellowship space. Thank you, Bill, for years of Christian fellowship and service! -Mel Bohlmann
Coach Koch was a very good man and the person most instrumental in my attending VU. I will always cherish our talks at the Horizon BB tournament at Butler. My condolences to his family. He will be missed. -Gary Eberhart
No one will probably remember me but I remember Bill very well he was my football coach when I went to Concordia Lutheran High School it was the old high school on Anthony Boulevard he gave me an opportunity to play football or no one else had given me any opportunities it is something I will never forget rest in peace bill I know the good Lord is thinking kindly on you Charles Nash I played at Concordia my Southmore year. -Charles Nash