WVU Defensive Standout Makes Coaching Move

Former National Football League linebacker Canute Curtis, who has been a college football coach for the last five seasons, has been named as the Defensive Line Coach at Towson University, it has been announced by the Tigers' new Head Football Coach, Rob Ambrose.

A native of Amityville, N.Y., Coach Curtis is actually returning to Towson where his collegiate coaching career started in 2004.

"We're very excited to have Canute join our coaching staff," says Coach Ambrose. "He is an historic player in the annals of West Virginia University football and he's a former NFL player. Canute has been very successful coaching on the defensive side of the ball and has experience with special teams. He brings a level of intensity and toughness that will be needed in our efforts to improve our defense.

"It's great to have Canute returning to Towson," Coach Ambrose added. "He has family ties to Baltimore and he got a taste of what this program is all about. Canute shares our vision for the future of this program."

A consensus All-American linebacker at West Virginia University, Curtis was the Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. During his career with the Mountaineers, he shattered the school record by making 34.5 sacks. The previous record was 22 sacks. As a senior, he ranked second in the nation with 16.5 sacks for 121 yards. A finalist for the Dick Butkus and Bronko Nagurski Award, he made 67 tackles in 1996 while leading the Mountaineers to an 8-4 record.

A three-year starter at linebacker for Coach Don Nehlen, Curtis made 192 tackles and recovered five fumbles in his career. In four years, he helped West Virginia to a 31-17 record while making 35 consecutive starts. As a freshman, he was a member of the Mountaineers' team which won its first 11 games before finishing with an 11-1 record after losing to Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The Mountaineers also faced South Carolina in the Carquest Bowl when Curtis was a sophomore and they played in the Gator Bowl against North Carolina after his senior year.

A 1997 graduate of West Virginia University, Curtis was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the NFL draft. In six years as a member of the Bengals, he appeared in 70 games and started at linebacker in 15 contests. In the 2001 season, he played in all 16 games and started four times. He made 28 tackles for the Bengals. His final NFL season may have been his best campaign. He played in all 16 games for Coach Dick LeBeau and started at leftside linebacker 11 times. He finished ninth on the team with 51 tackles.

A special teams standout for the Bengals throughout his career, he made a career high nine tackles in a 26-23 win over Pittsburgh in the 2001 season. He also made eight tackles in a 38-27 loss at Baltimore in 2002. He retired after the end of the 2002 season. In his career with the Bengals, he made 101 tackles with three quarterback sacks.

In 2004, Curtis started his collegiate coaching career at Towson University. As a member of Coach Gordy Combs' staff, he was the Tigers' Linebackers Coach, joining the staff in time for Towson's first season as a member of the Atlantic 10 Football Conference. As the Linebackers Coach, he worked with a pair of freshman linebackers, Brian Bradford and John Webb. Bradford and Webb went on to enjoy outstanding careers at Towson. As a senior, Bradford was a consensus All-American who finished second in the nation in tackles.

After one season at Towson, he left to join James Webster's coaching staff at Tennessee State University. During his three-year stint at TSU, he served as the Tigers' Defensive Line Coach as well as their Special Teams Coach. Tennessee State was 11-11 in his final two years at the Ohio Valley Conference school.

Most recently, Coach Curtis spent one season as the Defensive Line Coach at Hampton University. At Hampton, he was a member of Coach Jerry Holmes' staff. When Curtis was a linebacker at WVU, Holmes was his position coach.

A graduate of Farmingdale High School in New York, Curtis was an All-State linebacker for Coach Don Snyder. He also earned All-Long Island notice as a running back and linebacker. Coach Curtis and his wife, LaToya, are the parents of two young children.


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