DeRuyter established the defensive unit into one of the most improved in the conference in his initial year. The Falcons were sixth in the conference in total defense, fifth in rushing and scoring defense. The Falcons were at the bottom of the conference in each category the year prior.
The defense continued its improvement in DeRuyter's second year, finishing fourth in the conference in every category, total defense, scoring, passing and rushing. Nationally, those numbers are even more impressive. The Falcons ranked 35th nationally in total defense and were in the top 50 nationally in three of the other four categories.
The Falcon defense has allowed just 21.1 points per game over two seasons which is the best two-year total since the team entered Mountain West Conference play in 1999. The unit has allowed just nine opponents to score 30 or more points over the two-year span. The attacking 3-4 style helped several individuals excel as well. Safety Chris Thomas established himself as one of the top defensive players in the league. A second-team all-conference honoree last year, Thomas posted his second-straight 100-tackle season in 2008. He also set an Armed Forces Bowl record with 16 stops.
A 1985 USAFA graduate, DeRuyter came to the Falcons after two seasons as Nevada's co-defensive coordinator. He worked with the Wolf Pack safeties and directed the pass defense along with assistant coach Barry Sacks.
Prior to his stint at Nevada, DeRuyter spent three years at Ohio University, serving as defensive coordinator and secondary coach. He helped produce the 25th-ranked defense in the NCAA and the No. 2 defense in the Mid-American Conference in 2004. Prior to his stint in Athens, Ohio, he worked for three years at Navy. He also worked at Air Force for four years as a full-time military coach and served one year as a graduate assistant. He worked at Ohio University from 1995-98 as the defensive coordinator.
All told, DeRuyter has 18 years of coaching experience, all at the NCAA Division I-A level, and has coached in nine bowl games. He has experience with both 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes and in pressure, attack-style philosophies. DeRuyter's defenses have traditionally been ranked among the national leaders during his 18-year coaching career at three different I-A schools.
A three-year letterman for the Falcons, DeRuyter earned a bachelor's degree in management and received an M.B.A. in market strategy from Regis University in Denver in 1992. As an outside linebacker, he helped the Falcons to three bowl game victories during his playing career. A native of Long Beach, Calif., DeRuyter attended St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif., where he graduated in 1981.
Born Jan. 3, 1963, the 46-year-old DeRuyter and his wife, Kara, have a son, Jake, and a daughter, Christina.