Football Coaching Staff
Art Kaufman
Defensive Coordinator
Coach Info:
Position: Defensive Coordinator
Hometown: Dermott, AR
High School: Dermott HS
Alma Mater: Arkansas at Monticello
Graduating Year: 1980
Experience: 1 Year

Art Kaufman is in his second season as the defensive coordinator at Cal and his 34th as a collegiate coach in 2015 running a Golden Bears defense that has made significant improvements in his second campaign in Berkeley. The contributions of the defense have helped Cal post a 7-5 regular-season mark to secure a winning record and a spot in postseason play for the first time since 2011 at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. A bowl victory would give Cal its first eight-win season since the 2009 team was 8-5 with only 17 squads since the beginning of Cal football in 1882-83 winning either nine or 10.

Much of Cal's defensive improvement in 2015 has been because the Bears have been one of the nation's top teams in categories related to caused turnovers all season. Cal is tied for 21st in the nation in defensive touchdowns (3), tied 22nd in turnovers gained (24), tied for 27th in interceptions (14) and tied for 28th in fumbles recovered (10). Cal ranks tied for second in the Pac-12 in fumbles recovered, third in turnovers gained, and tied for third in defensive touchdowns and interceptions. All of those numbers are improvements from 2014. 

The Bears also went from allowing 39.8 points per game to rank 120th nationally in 2014 to its current 30.3 points per game allowed and a ranking of tied for 88th in 2015. Cal has also put up significantly better numbers than a season ago in sacks (2015 – 2.25; 2014 – 1.33 spg), team passing efficiency defense (2015 – 134.51; 2014 – 154.54), tackles for loss (2015 – 5.3; 2014 – 4.6) and total defense (2015 – 455.3; 2014 – 511.8).

Kaufman coached three honorable mention All-Pac-12 selections that each started all 12 games in 2015 in senior defensive end Kyle Kragen, senior safety Stefan McClure and junior linebacker Hardy Nickerson.

Nickerson recorded 101 tackles to become the first Cal player to record 100 or more stops in a single-season since Mychal Kendricks registered 107 in 2011. He was one of only three Pac-12 players to record 100 or more tackles during the 2015 regular season and ranks fourth in the league with an average of 8.4 stops per contest.

Kragen emerged on defense to record career highs of 65 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss (-39 yards) and 6.0 sacks (-32 yards), leading the team in tackles for loss and sacks while ranking second behind Nickerson in tackles. Kragen was added to the midseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award honoring the nation’s top defensive end.

McClure recovered from a series of injuries that caused him to miss 25 of 49 possible games including the entire 2012 campaign over his first four seasons with career highs of 52 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss (-11 yards), his first career sack (-9 yards), third career fumble recovery that he returned 45 yards for his first career touchdown against Washington State and two pass breakups. McClure was also on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list and Cal’s nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®.

In addition to a veteran group of players, Kaufman had his entire 2015 defensive coaching staff returning from his first camapign in position coaches Greg Burns (safeties), Garret Chachere (linebackers) and Fred Tate (defensive line), while adding to the group a former colleague in John Lovett (cornerbacks).

“Continuity on a coaching staff is critical and with Art and his staff back for a second season in 2015, our defense continued to make dramatic improvements,” head coach Sonny Dykes said.

The improvements in Kaufman's first season at Cal in 2014 were highlighted by a jump of 48 spots and 44 yards per game in rush defense to No. 38 nationally (144.6 ypg). The 2014 defense also shaved 6.1 points per game off the total number of points allowed and finished 35 spots higher nationally in red zone defense.

“Art had a tremendous influence on our football program,” Dykes said. “His extensive experience as a defensive coordinator has made everybody comfortable. He is a great communicator who has a detailed and organized plan on teaching and implementing a defense and a clear vision of what he wants. I am excited to see our defense continue to get better and better down the road, and I feel confident in Art’s abilities to lead our defense.”

Kaufman became Cal’s defensive coordinator in January of 2014 after having developed some of the top defenses in the country at multiple stops over his 33-year collegiate career. He is in his 14th campaign as a defensive coordinator at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision level in 2015, having previously served in the role at Cincinnati, North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas Tech. Kaufman was nominated for the prestigious Broyles Award given annually to college football’s top assistant coach both at North Carolina in 2011 and Texas Tech in 2012.

“I feel like we took a few steps to becoming a better defense in 2014 and that our defense will continue to 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.”

Kaufman was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Cincinnati in 2013 when the Bearcats finished 9-4 overall and played in the Belk Bowl. Kaufman’s 2013 defense was one of the best in the country, ranking in the top 10 nationally in both rushing defense (6th, 104.5 ypg) and total defense (9th, 315.6 ypg). Cincinnati was also among the top 30 in 10 of the 11 primary defensive categories tracked in the national stats, including 14th in scoring defense (21.0 ppg), third-down conversion percentage defense (33.1%) and first downs defense (230); 23rd in sacks (2.69 spg) and red-zone defense (76.5%); 25th in team passing efficiency defense (116.75); 26th in tackles for loss (6.80 tflpg); and 29th in passing yards allowed (211.2 ypg).

At Cincinnati he coached first-team All-American Athletic Conference defensive lineman Jordan Stepp in the inaugural season of the league while three Bearcats – defensive lineman Silverberry Mouhon, linebacker Greg Blair and cornerback Deven Drane – were second-team selections on the defensive side of the ball. Blair led the squad with 106 tackles, while Mouhon (9.5 spg) and Stepp (6.0 spg) were first and second on the club in sacks.

The performance of Kaufman’s defense during his single season in Cincinnati came on the heels of a 2012 campaign in which he led a complete overhaul of the Texas Tech defense. Inheriting a 2011 unit that ranked 114th nationally in total defense (485.58 ypg), the Red Raiders improved to 38th (367.31 ypg) while ranking second in the Big 12 Conference. Texas Tech was keyed by a pass defense that led the league and ranked 15th in the country (192.00 ypg). The Red Raiders finished 8-5 overall and were victorious at the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Texas Tech defensive lineman Kerry Hyder along with defensive backs Cody Davis and D.J. Johnson were named second-team All-Big 12 in 2012 while Davis was also a first-team Capital One Academic All-America® selection and one of 15 finalists for the prestigious William B. Campbell Trophy also known as the “Academic Heisman”. Davis led the team in tackles (101) and interceptions (3), including one that he returned 88 yards for a touchdown, while adding seven pass breakups and 3.5 tackles for loss. Johnson was second on the squad with 90 stops while Hyder finished third with 56 tackles, a team-leading 14.0 tackles for loss and a team co-leading 6.0 sacks. He tallied 10.5 tackles for loss during Big 12 play to rank third in the league.
Kaufman joined the Red Raiders from North Carolina, where he was the defensive coordinator for the Tar Heels in 2011 and the linebackers coach for three campaigns from 2009-11. Kaufman helped guide the 2011 Tar Heels to a No. 27 national ranking in rush defense (123.92 ypg), a No. 48 ranking in total defense (365.23 ypg) and an appearance against Missouri in the Independence Bowl.

North Carolina developed several outstanding linebackers under Kaufman’s guidance, including current NFL players Zach Brown (Tennessee), Bruce Carter (Tampa Bay), and Kevin Reddick (Buffalo).

Brown posted strong numbers in his final season in 2011 to earn first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors when he paced the Tar Heels with 105 tackles and co-led the squad with three interceptions and three pass breakups, while adding 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Defensive tackle Quinton Coples also picked up first-team All-ACC honors for the second consecutive season and was selected by the New York Jets in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft with the 16th selection overall.

Reddick (74) and Brown (72) were North Carolina’s top two tacklers in 2010, with Brown adding three interceptions that he ran back for 113 yards. Despite injuries to Carter and linebacker Quan Sturdivant, a sixth-round 2011 NFL Draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals, the Tar Heels finished fourth in the ACC and 30th in the country in total defense (338.54 ypg) led by a rushing defense that was fourth in the league and 22nd nationally (125.62 ypg).

Carolina’s linebackers helped lead a unit that finished first in the ACC and sixth in the nation in total defense (269.62 ypg) on the team’s way to an 8-5 record and a spot in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in 2009. The Tar Heels were 10th in the country against the run (95.62 ypg) and 13th in scoring defense (17.08 ppg), ranking first and second in the conference. Carolina was the only team in the country to finish among the top 15 in total defense, rushing defense, third-down efficiency (3rd, 29.4%), tackles for loss (6th, 8.08 tflpg), pass defense (14th, 174.0 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (14th, 105.32). Sturdivant earned first-team All-ACC honors after leading the Tar Heels with 79 stops, while Carter was a second-team all-conference pick.

Prior to his three-year run at North Carolina, Kaufman spent one season coaching the defensive line and special teams at Southern Miss (2008), three coaching linebackers at Middle Tennessee (2005-07), two as the defensive line coach at East Carolina (2003-04), and two as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Arkansas Tech (2001-02).

During his lone season at Southern Miss, the Golden Eagles posted a 7-6 record and won their last five games, including a New Orleans Bowl victory. Kaufman’s 2006 team at Middle Tennessee won a co-Sun Belt title and was the school’s first bowl squad in 45 seasons, with the Blue Raiders’ defense ranking third in the nation in tackles for loss (8.08 tflpg) and 20th in sacks (2.77 spg). His first team at Arkansas Tech was 8-2.

Kaufman coached 10 of the previous 13 seasons over two stints at Mississippi, starting in 1988 with a four-year run working with the defensive ends and linebackers before returning to Ole Miss for six campaigns from 1995-2000 as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
During his first stint at Ole Miss, Kaufman helped guide the Rebels to back-to-back bowl appearances during the 1989 (Liberty Bowl) and 1990 (Gator Bowl) seasons for the first time since 1970 and 1971. In his second tour of duty, the Rebels played in four straight bowls (1997-2000) with his 1999 squad ranking fourth nationally in rushing defense (76.9 ypg).

In between his two stints at Mississippi he spent three seasons as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Louisiana Tech (1992-94). His 1992 team ranked fourth nationally in total defense (256.5 ypg).

Kaufman also coached five seasons at Northwestern State (1983-87), working with the outside linebackers for the first four campaigns before being promoted to defensive coordinator/linebackers coach for his fifth and final season.

Kaufman broke into the coaching business as a graduate assistant at Delta State in 1982 after receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 1980. He was a four-year starting linebacker during his collegiate playing days with the Boll Weevils.

A native of Dermott, Ark., Kaufman has three daughters: Tara, Taylor and Madison.

Art Kaufman File
 December 23, 1957
Hometown: Dermott, AR
High School: Dermott HS
College: Arkansas at Monticello, 1980, Bachelor's in Agriculture
Family: Daughters, Tara, Taylor and Madison

Collegiate Coaching History
Season: School – Position
1982: Delta State – Graduate Assistant
Northwestern State – Outside Linebackers
Northwestern State – Outside Linebackers
1985: Northwestern State – Outside Linebackers
1986: Northwestern State – Outside Linebackers
1987: Northwestern State – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
1988: Mississippi – Defensive Ends/Outside Linebackers
1989: Mississippi – Defensive Ends/Outside Linebackers 
1990: Mississippi – Defensive Ends/Outside Linebackers
1991: Mississippi – Defensive Ends/Outside Linebackers
1992: Louisiana Tech – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
1993: Louisiana Tech – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
1994: Louisiana Tech – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
1995: Mississippi – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
1996: Mississippi – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
1997: Mississippi – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
1998: Mississippi – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
1999: Mississippi – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
2000: Mississippi – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
2001: Arkansas Tech – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
2002: Arkansas Tech – Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
2003: East Carolina – Defensive Line
2004: East Carolina – Defensive Line
2005: Middle Tennessee – Linebackers
2006: Middle Tennessee – Linebackers
2007: Middle Tennessee – Linebackers
2008: Southern Miss – Defensive Line/Special Teams
2009: North Carolina – Linebackers
2010: North Carolina – Linebackers
2011: North Carolina – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
2012: Texas Tech – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
2013: Cincinnati – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
2014: Cal – Defensive Coordinator
2015: Cal – Defensive Coordinator

Bowl History (14 Games)
*Season: School – Bowl
1989: Mississippi – Liberty Bowl
1990: Mississippi – Gator Bowl
1997: Mississippi – Motor City Bowl
1998: Mississippi – Independence Bowl
1999: Mississippi – Independence Bowl
2000: Mississippi – Music City Bowl
2006: Middle Tennessee – Motor City Bowl
2008: Southern Miss –  New Orleans Bowl
2009: North Carolina – Meineke Car Care Bowl
2010: North Carolina – Meineke Car Care Bowl
2011: North Carolina  Independence Bowl
2012: Texas Tech – Meineke Car Care Bowl
2013: Cincinnati – Belk Bowl
2015: Cal – Armed Forces Bowl
*Season in which bowl game was played

Last Updated
December 9, 2015