David Kotulski (Ka-tell-ski), who has 37 years of coaching experience including 22 years as a defensive coordinator, is in his first season as Utah State’s linebackers coach.
In all, Kotulski has been part of five conference championships during his career, including four-straight during a four-year period at Lehigh (2010-11) and Stanford (2012-13) as he helped the Cardinal to back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances.
This is Kotulski’s second stint at Utah State as he served as the Aggies’ defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach in 2003 and 2004 under then head coach Mick Dennehy.
Most recently, Kotulski spent the 2014 season as the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Vanderbilt. Prior to that, he spent two seasons as the inside linebackers coach at Stanford.
At Vanderbilt, Kotulski coached a pair of all-Southeastern Conference linebackers in Nigel Bowden, who was named to the all-freshman team in 2014, and Zach Cunningham, who went on to earn third-team All-America and first-team all-SEC honors in 2015.
At Stanford, Kotulski’s interior linebackers helped produce one of the nation’s top defense for a program that captured back-to-back Pac-12 crowns and made consecutive Rose Bowl appearances.
In 2013, the Cardinal defense was one of five nationally to allow opponents less than 100 rushing yards per game, ranking third in the NCAA at 89.4 yards allowed per game. The 2013 unit also ranked 10th in scoring defense (19.0 points) and 16th in total defense (343.1 yards), and was among the nation’s best in producing plays for negative yardage with 44 quarterback sacks and 109 tackles for loss.
In 2012, Kotulski’s linebackers were key to Stanford’s 57 quarterback sacks, a school record. That season, the Cardinal also paced the Pac-12 in scoring defense (17.2 points), total defense (336.2 yards) and rushing defense (97.0 yards).
While at Stanford, Kotulski mentored two highly productive inside linebackers in Shayne Skov and A.J. Tarpley. Skov was Kotulski’s most decorated player, becoming a two-time All-America recipient, two-time all-Pac-12 honoree and 2012 Butkus Award finalist. Tarpley earned all-Pac-12 honorable mention recognition in 2013.
Prior to joining the Stanford staff, Kotulski spent six years directing one of the Patriot League’s top defense’s at Lehigh. In 2011, Lehigh ranked in the top three in six defensive categories in the conference, including total defense (315.7 yards), rushing defense (102.8 yards), interceptions and sacks. The Mountain Hawks also finished in the top-20 nationally in both total defense and rushing defense.
After winning its second straight Patriot League title in 2011, Lehigh defeated Towson in the second round of the Football Championship Series (FCS) playoffs before falling to eventual national champion North Dakota State in the quarterfinals. In 2009, Kotulski’s Lehigh unit led the nation with 39 sacks.
Before joining Lehigh, Kotulski was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Holy Cross in 2005 and at Utah State in 2003-04.
Following his first season as defensive coordinator at Utah State, the Aggies produced the second-best turnaround in college football as it ranked 111th in total defense (allowing 471.1 yards per game) the year before he arrived and improved that to 45th nationally in his first season (allowing 360.1 yards per game).
Under Kotulski, former Aggie linebacker Robert Watts earned second-team all-Sun Belt Conference honors as a junior in 2003 and was named the league’s defensive player of the week once during the 2004 season, as he returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown against UNLV, a mark that ranks second all-time in school history. Overall, Watts led the Aggies in tackles as both a junior and senior with 118 and 74 stops, respectively.
Kotulski also has experience as a defensive coordinator at Bucknell (1995-2002) and Saint Mary’s (1990-94), and spent 12 years on staff at Utah coaching linebackers and the defensive line. During the 2002 season at Bucknell, Kotulski served as the Bison’s interim head coach.
Kotulski’s coaching career began at St. Paul (Calif.) High School, where he helped the team to a 34-5 record and three Angelus League Championships.
An Illinois native, Kotulski earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1974 from New Mexico State, where he lettered as a linebacker and center for the Aggies.
Kotulski and his wife, Cissy, are the parents of two children, David and Carey.
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