Ron Vanderlinden is in his 13th year as the Penn State linebackers coach. Vanderlinden and Charles London also oversee the special teams. He has played a significant role in the resurgence of "Linebacker U." and the Nittany Lions' defensive and special teams success since he joined the staff in 2001. During his tenure, Vanderlinden has developed five players who have earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and five first-team All-America selections. Two of his pupils, NaVorro Bowman (49ers) and Cameron Wake (Dolphins) are two-time All-Pro honorees.
Vanderlinden has coached three players who have won the Chuck Bednarik Award five times: Dan Connor (2007), Paul Posluszny (2005-06) and Pat Fitzgerald (1995-96), who are the only two-time recipients of the honor. Vanderlinden directed Michael Mauti to first-team All-America and All-Big Ten accolades in 2012, while Gerald Hodges was a two-time all-conference honoree. All three 2009 starting linebackers earned All-Big Ten honors and are on NFL rosters, with Bowman being named to All-Pro the past two years and Sean Lee a rising star with the Dallas Cowboys. In 2007, All-American Dan Connor became the school's career tackle leader and won the Bednarik Award. Vanderlinden also worked with Paul Posluszny, the 2005 Butkus Award recipient and two-time first-team All-American and Bednarik Award winner. Vanderlinden was head coach at Maryland (1997-2000) and the defensive coordinator at Northwestern (1992-96), helping the Wildcats win two Big Ten titles. Northwestern led the nation in scoring defense (12.7 ppg) in 1995. Vanderlinden also was a defensive assistant coach at Colorado (1983-91), helping the Buffaloes win the 1990 national championship. He also coached at Ball State (1981-82), Michigan (1979-80) and Bowling Green after graduating from Albion College, where he twice earned all-conference honors at center.