University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head football coach Tom Arth announced on Tuesday that Tom Kaufman has been offered and accepted the position of Defensive Coordinator on the Mocs football staff. Kaufman spent last season as the Special Team's Coordinator and Linebackers Coach at Syracuse.
"We are thrilled to welcome Tom and his wife Stephanie to the UTC family," stated coach Arth. "Tom is an exceptionally intelligent and talented football coach who brings great leadership, competitiveness and an intense motivation to recruit top level student-athletes.
"As college teammates at John Carroll, Tom and I have been in the fight together and that gives me great confidence in knowing the type of person he is and the outstanding example he will set for our team at UTC."
Kaufman was a part of Dino Babers' staff for four seasons at Eastern Illinois (2012-13) and Bowling Green (2014-15) before they were hired at Syracuse in January of 2016. Kaufman and Arth played together at John Carroll University from 1999-02.
At Bowling Green, Kaufman helped the Falcons win the 2014 Mid-American Conference East Division title, the 2015 MAC Championship, and earn a pair of bowl bids. In 2015, Kaufman's first year as a defensive line coach, his unit increased its sack production by six from the previous season. Overall, the Falcons tied for third in the MAC in sacks (30) and posted a 10-4 record, earning a trip to the GoDaddy Bowl.
As BGSU's special teams coordinator, Kaufman was the architect of a punting unit that ranked in the top 30 nationally two years in a row and led the MAC in net average (39.5) in 2015. In 2014, the Falcons punt return team topped the conference and ranked 29th in the FBS at 10.2 yards per return. In addition, the unit was responsible for three blocked punts and two touchdowns with Kaufman in charge.
Kaufman's tutelage helped Ryan Burbrink earn All-MAC honors as a punt returner twice, including first-team plaudits in 2014. Kaufman also tutored 2015 All-MAC First Team punter Joe Davidson and 2014 All-MAC Third Team placekicker Tyler Tate.
Another of Kaufman's protégés, linebacker Gabe Martin, recorded 115 total tackles and led the MAC with 18 tackles for loss on his way to All-MAC Second Team honors in 2014. Martin is currently a member of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals after signing with the team in 2015 as an undrafted free agent.
At Eastern Illinois, Kaufman was part of Babers' staff that turned around a struggling Panthers program. After successive 2-9 records in the two seasons before the staff's arrival, Eastern Illinois improved to 7-5 in 2012 and went 12-2 in 2013. The Panthers won the Ohio Valley Conference and made the FCS playoffs both years, including finishing with the No. 3 national ranking in 2013.
Kaufman's 2013 Eastern Illinois punt return unit led the FCS at more than 20 yards per return. The Panthers also blocked two kicks and scored four special teams touchdowns. In addition, Kaufman's kickoff coverage team finished third in the country in fewest yards allowed per return.
Kaufman coached three all-conference performers at EIU, including linebacker Robert Haynes who ranked among the Ohio Valley Conference leaders with 101 tackles in 2012. He also mentored NFL Draft choice Kamu Grugier-Hill at EIU. Grugier-Hill was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 draft by the New England Patriots.
Prior to linking up with Babers, Kaufman was a quality control coach at Texas (2011), Kansas (2010), and spent the 2009 season as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State.
Kaufman began his coaching career in the Division III ranks, working a total of six years at Heidelberg College, Case Western Reserve, and the University of Chicago before making the jump to the FBS. As the defensive coordinator at Chicago in 2008, Kaufman coached seven all-conference players and the Maroons ranked 26th nationally in pass defense.
As the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at Case Western Reserve, Kaufman mentored seven all-conference selections and three league players of the year, including two-time Gagliardi Trophy (Division III Player of the Year) finalist Tom Brew.
Kaufman earned his undergraduate degree in English from John Carroll University in 2003 and received his master's degree in education from Heidelberg in 2005. Tom is married to his wife, Stephanie.