GRAND FORKS, N.D. – University of North Dakota head football coach Chris Mussman announced on Friday that Josh Kotelnicki has been elevated to the role of defensive coordinator. Kotelnicki, who was a standout linebacker in the program and a team captain on the 2001 Division II National Championship team, served the past five seasons as the team’s special teams coordinator and linebackers coach.
“This was not a difficult decision at all,” Mussman said. “Josh has been running our special teams for a number of years and that unit has been one of the tops at the FCS level. He’s also done a great job with our linebackers and his passion and the way he motivates will only help our defense as we look to continue to improve on that side of the ball.”
Kotelnicki, who also holds the title of assistant head coach, earned the promotion after the position was vacated by Mike Mannausau when he accepted the role as UND’s Champions Club Executive Director.
“I want to thank our Director of Athletics Brian Faison and Coach Mussman for this opportunity,” Kotelnicki said. “As any young coach, you want to continue to progress in your career and take on new challenges, and I’m fortunate to continue to do that here at a University that I am passionate about and has given so much to me and my family.”
Kotelnicki’s special team’s units ranked among the top four in the Big Sky last season in kickoff returns, punting and field goals during what was the team’s first season in the conference. UND also led all Big Sky schools with seven blocked kicks a year after leading all FCS schools with 10 in 2011.
He also tutored former middle linebacker Dan Hendrickson to back-to-back All-Great West honors and UND’s 2011 defense was the top overall and scoring unit in the Great West.
Kotelnicki has one prior season as a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level, serving in that post at Truman State during the 2006 season. He would then move on to Kansas State for the 2007 season where he worked at the FBS level as a defensive assistant.
Following his one season with the Wildcats, Kotelnicki returned to his alma mater for the second time as an assistant coach. He spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons as a defensive assistant at UND after beginning his coaching career at Murray State (2002-03) where he also earned a master’s degree in business administration.
Kotelnicki and his wife, Sarah, have a son, Thomas (2), and a daughter, Nora (five months).
— Go UND —