Former Cincinnati defensive coordinator Art Kaufman has been named Cal's new defensive coordinator.
Announced Wednesday by the University, Kaufman will become the second defensive coordinator hire for head coach Sonny Dykes, who -- following a dismal 1-11 first season -- dismissed defensive backs coach Randy Stewart, defensive line coach Barry Sacks, and demoted of defensive coordinator Andy Buh. A 32-year coaching veteran, Kaufman has 16 years of defensive coordinator experience at seven different schools including Cincy, Ole Miss, East Carolina, North Carolina, Texas Tech, and Louisiana Tech -- two programs that Dykes also spent time at.
"After an extensive search and evaluation process, we have identified one of the top coaches and teachers in the business to join our staff at Cal," Dykes said. "Art has a tremendous amount of experience and an excellent track record in significant roles on the defensive side of the ball at the highest level of college football. He is a great fit at Cal as he shares in our philosophy of developing players to their fullest potential both on and off the field, while being an excellent teacher in all aspects of the game."
"I'm thrilled to be joining the Cal football coaching staff and believe that my coaching experience will help our defense improve quickly," Kaufman said. "I'm looking forward to building a strong defense that will make significant contributions to our success as a football team. Sonny Dykes is in the initial stages of building a tremendous football program at Cal, and it's great to be part of that process early on."
A two-time All-American at LB for Arkansas-Monticello during his playing days, Kaufman was a finalist for the Broyles Award (given to the nation's top assistant) in 2009 while at UNC where he finished with the 13th best scoring defense in the country, and a nominee in 2012 while at Texas Tech.
That season, Kaufman inherited a Red Raider defense ranked 114th out of 120 in total defense, and last in the country in rushing defense, and turned it into one of the top ranked defenses in the country -- Tech spent half the season with the No. 1 ranked defense in college football and finished with the 39th overall and top defense in the Big 12.
Kaufman has also coached in 13 bowl games.
In Cal, Kaufman inherits the second worst defense in the entire country -- the Bears gave up 528.6 yards per game last season and set a new school record for points allowed in a season. He also inherits the worst pass defense in the entire country, a unit that gave up 4,092 passing yards (341 per game), allowed opposing QBs to complete 65% of their passes, and recorded just five interceptions.
"I feel confident that Art Kaufman is the right coach to lead our defense," Dykes said. "I've observed his career for many years and have a strong appreciation for what he has accomplished. His teams are always fundamentally sound and play hard. The thing that really stood out as we researched him is that all of his former players that we talked to said the highlight of their career was playing for Art. It's a real credit to who he is as a person and a coach."
"When you have an opportunity to hire a coach of this caliber it speaks volumes to Cal's reputation on a national level," Dykes added. "Art had lots of other opportunities but joined us at Cal because he sees the same potential that I saw when I decided to take this coaching job. We're all excited about the future of Cal football and the opportunity to build something together."
Of Cal's four starters in the defensive backfield in Week 1 against Northwestern last year, Kameron Jackson is now bound for the NFL, Stefan McClure is still recovering from knee surgery, and Isaac Lapite didn't play in the final two games of the season (coach's decision), leaving just Michael Lowe. On the defensive line, the Bears lose both of their starting defensive tackles -- including Viliami Moala who opted to forego his senior season to enter the NFL Draft -- in addition to graduated starting defensive end Dan Camporeale.
Three linebackers will be lost -- one to early entry into the draft, and two others to transfer -- meaning the Bears could return just four defensive starters from Cal's Week 1 starting defense in 2013. Of those, Avery Sebastian and Stefan McClure will both be returning from offseason surgeries.
"Art has a proven track record of quick improvement and that was on full display during his tenure at Texas Tech," Dykes said. "He also has the ability to mesh a defense with a fast-paced offense. Those are two things that we obviously need."
Specifics of Kaufman's contract have yet to be released.