The Syracuse football staff will be looking to replace its second coach in the past week, as linebackers coach Tom Kaufman is leaving the Orange to become the new defensive coordinator at Chattanooga.

I’d heard some buzz about this one over the weekend, but it became official this morning as the Post-Standard has confirmed it, as has CuseNation’s Mike McAllister.

Kaufman joins Mike Hart, the former Onondaga and Michigan star who coached Syracuse’s running backs last year, as coaches Dino Babers will now have to replace. Hart left to take the same job at Indiana, heading back to his college football roots in the Big Ten.

For Kaufman, this move makes perfect sense. He’s in his mid-30s and hasn’t had a defensive coordinator gig at the Division I level yet. For any young coach who wants to eventually become a head coach, you really need to get a coordinator job under your belt sooner than later, and this affords Kaufman that very opportunity.

At the end of the day, despite some fans probably deciding this must be a sign that the sky is falling (it isn’t), when you step back and look at his logically, from Kaufman’s perspective, it makes perfect professional sense. If you want to move up the coaching ladder, sooner or later you need to go from being just a position coach to becoming a coordinator. Considering the head coach at Chattanooga is a former teammate of Kaufman’s, it’s a smart career move.

Now, a bigger concern might be the fact that Kaufman also worked with special teams, and was a key recruiter in the state of Ohio. It’ll be interesting to see what Syracuse does to shore up those two areas.

Good luck to Tom Kaufman. Now, let’s see who Babers might bring in to re-stock his coaching staff as we head into spring practice.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish