Air Force defensive coordinator John Rudzinski is leaving to accept the same position at Virginia.

Multiple national media outlets reported the news, which was also confirmed by The Gazette through a source.

Rudzinski led the Falcons to the No. 4 national ranking in total defense at 296.5 yards per game.

A 2006 Air Force graduate, Rudzinski has been on the Falcons staff since 2010 and has served as defensive coordinator since 2018.

As a defensive backs coach, he worked with All-American Weston Steelhammer. As defensive coordinator he oversaw units that contributed to the 2019 team that went 11-2 and finished the season ranked No. 21 nationally and this past year's team that went 10-3 and topped Louisville in the First Responder Bowl.

Rudzinski was a two-time captain with the Falcons, earning team Most Valuable Player honors. He was an honorable mention all-Mountain West selection as a senior and was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game.

The Air Force defenses under Rudzinski were built to stop the run first and foremost. In his three full seasons as coordinator the Falcons ranked 16th (in 2018), seventh (in 2019) and ninth (in 2021) in rushing defense – this despite annually facing two of the nation’s premier rushing offenses in Army and Navy.

This year, Air Force forced a punt on 11 opening possessions in 13 games.

When it comes to finding a replacement, there is plenty of experience on the staff. Brian Knorr has served as defensive coordinator at Wake Forest, Indiana and Ohio and was a head coach at Ohio. Alex Means, like Rudzinski, is a former Falcon defensive player who might be viewed as an up-and-comer on the staff. Bill Sheridan has been the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccanears defensive coordinator and has been a defensive assistant at college stops that included Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State and Army among others.

The other full-time assistants on the staff from this past season are Del Cowsette, Curome Cox and Andre Morris.

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