Football fires defensive coordinator Tom Kaufman

Tom Kaufman was hired as the teams defensive coordinator in January of 2018. 

Tom Kaufman was hired as the team’s defensive coordinator in January of 2018. 

Jimmy Oswald Sports Editor

The Kent State football team has parted ways with defensive coordinator Tom Kaufman.

Kaufman was also the associate head coach and inside linebackers coach. 

Cornerbacks coach C.J. Cox will serve as the interim defensive coordinator for the reminder of the season. 

Cox was hired in March of 2021 after spending his previous three seasons as the cornerbacks coach at Montana. 

Kaufman’s dismissal comes two days after the Flashes were beaten by Central Michigan 54-30. CMU had 505 total yards of offense, the fifth straight game that KSU’s defense allowed 400+ total yards. 

Kent State is last in the Mid-American Conference this season in total yards (496.3), passing yards (297.9), first downs (270) and sacks (14). It is the second-worst defense in points (36.8), rushing touchdowns (29) and third-down conversions (46.9). 

The Flashes have given up 48 or more points in four of their last five games. And they have given up 106 combined points in the last two weeks. 

Kaufman was hired in January of 2018, the month after head coach Sean Lewis took over. He had spent the previous season as the defensive coordinator for Chattanooga.

Kaufman had several stints with Lewis in the past. They coached together at Eastern Illinois for the 2012 and 2013 seasons before spending the next two seasons in Bowling Green. They spent the 2016 season on the Syracuse coaching staff. 

KSU is fifth in the FBS in turnovers with 20 and tied for fourth in interceptions with 13. 

But the Flashes have only one interception and three total turnovers in the last four games. 

With two weeks left in the season Kent State (4-2 MAC, 5-5 overall) is tied for first place in the MAC East with Miami, who it faces in the season finale at Dix Stadium on Nov. 27. 

KSU will first play at Akron (2-8, 1-5) on Saturday at noon.

Jimmy Oswald is a sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].