Art Kaufman, a veteran of 24 years of coaching at the collegiate level, is concluding his second season at Middle Tennessee and his first under Rick Stockstill. Kaufman is in his second full season coaching the Blue Raider linebackers.
In 2006, Kaufman molded a group that produced three of the top four tacklers on the team, and five of his players turned in career performances. Justin Rainey and J. K. Sabb both earned Sun Belt All-Conference honors and Rainey and Lonnie Clemons both recorded touchdowns on fumble returns. The unit ended up being a strength of the surprising Blue Raider defense in 2006.
In his first year at Middle Tennessee, Kaufman made a huge impact on the defense: the Blue Raiders finished 17th nationally in scoring defense and 28th in total defense. Both rankings went down as the best since the Blue Raiders joined the I-A ranks in 1999. Kaufman guided newcomer J. K. Sabb, who led the team in tackles, to second team all-conference honors.
Kaufman, who has coached in seven bowl games during his career, made his way to Murfreesboro after two seasons as defensive line coach at East Carolina. Prior to joining the staff at ECU, Kaufman spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Arkansas Tech.
A 1980 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Kaufman spent 10 years as an assistant coach at the University of Mississippi including six years as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Kaufman, a two-time All-American linebacker during his playing days at Arkansas-Monticello, followed his four-year career with the Boll Weevils by taking a graduate assistant position at Delta State University.
Kaufman earned his first full-time coaching job in 1983 when he became the outside linebackers coach at Northwestern State University (La.). In 1987, he was named defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Northwestern State. He left there the following year for Ole Miss to coach the Rebels' outside linebackers and defensive ends. While at Ole Miss, Kaufman helped guide the Rebels to back-to-back bowl appearances (1989 Liberty Bowl and 1991 Gator Bowl) for the first time since the 1970s.
Four years later, Kaufman was named the defensive coordinator/linebacker coach at Louisiana Tech University, where he remained until returning to Ole Miss in 1995. In 1992, his defensive unit ranked in the top five nationally.
He served again as the Rebels' defensive coordinator/linebacker coach for the next six years. During his second stint at Ole Miss, Kaufman helped the Rebels to four straight bowl berths (1997-2000), and his 1999 defense ranked fourth nationally in rushing defense.
Kaufman, a native of Dermott, Ark., has three daughters: Tara, Taylor, and Madison.