A Q&A With MSU Football GA Tom Kaufman

A Q&A with Mississippi State football graduate assistant coach Tom Kaufman.

Where were you born and raised?
"I was born and raised on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio."

Did you know Angelo Marino? Both of you are from Ohio.
"I was coaching at Case Western Reserve University, the school he attended. I was the linebackers coach and the special teams coordinator there. That's how we met. When he did his internship at Florida he did a lot of special team stuff there. So, his senior year he would come in the office and ask me if he could help me out with special teams."

Where did you go to high school
"I played linebacker at Lake Catholic High School. I was a little undersized. But it was a great experience there. The coach there was sort of a legendary figure. He was the reason I got into coaching"

Did you play college football?
"I did. I went to Cornell University for one year and played there. I transferred to John Carroll University after one year. It's a Jesuit, private catholic school in University Heights, Ohio, which is an east side suburb of Cleveland. I also played football there. A lot of great coaches have come out of that school. The head coach of the Broncos, Josh McDaniels. (Hall of Fame coach) Don Shula came from there. A couple of (NFL) GMs came from there as well."

Why did you choose coaching as your profession?
"I wanted to be a coach for a long time. I think it was my junior year in college when I realized that it was something that I could actually do and make a living. My parents weren't excited about it at first because they wanted me to go on and be a doctor or something like that. But it's something that I have always wanted to be."

When you graduated from college where did you go from there?
"My first job was at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. Brian Cochran was the head coach. It was a full-time job right off the bat. I was the equipment manager in addition to being the linebackers coach. I was doing the laundry every night in addition to my coaching job. That was kind of how I paid my dues originally."

Where did you go from there?
"After that, I went to Case Western Reserve University. I was there for three years. I coached linebackers and special teams. That's where I met Ang (Angelo Marino). We had some good teams there. We were undefeated my last year there.

"From there, I went to the University of Chicago for one year which was this past season. I was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach. I was planning on staying there for a while but Ang called me a couple of months ago and told me that they might have an opening (at Mississippi State) and asked me if I would be interested. I told him I most definitely would."

Why would you go from being a defensive coordinator at the University of Chicago to being a graduate assistant?
"(Laugh) People asked me that a lot. I've always wanted to coach at this level. I've tried networking and working a lot of camps but this was my first real break."

You aren't an on-the-field graduate assistant so what will be your duties?
"I've only been here a couple of weeks, but I think film breakdown will be something that I will help with. I'll look for tendencies of the other team right down to tendencies their players may show. I'll also help with self scout. After we play a game I'll give Coach (Carl) Torbush a report about things we do. As an example, I'll check to see if we are doing the same thing on 3rd and long or something similar to that. We're basically scouting ourselves so that we will know what other teams are seeing when they scout us."

What is your short-term goal and your long-term goal?
"My short-term goal is to get a full-time assistant coaching job at the (division) 1-A level. My long-term goal is to definitely become a head coach at this level.

"The biggest reason why I took this job was to coach on this level. And it's not just this level but being in the SEC. I had been a defensive coordinator at a Division-III level college. There's nothing wrong with that but I wanted to coach at this level."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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