Keith Dudzinski enters his first season as defensive coordinator. Dudzinski, who has over two decades of coaching experience on the collegiate level, including eight as a defensive coordinator, spent the previous four seasons as Maryland’s inside linebackers coach.
During his time as defensive coordinator at UMass-Amherst, the Minutemen finished among the top-20 in total defense three times and ranked first nationally in scoring defense in 2005.
In 2014, Dudzinski tutored two of the team’s top three tacklers in All-Big Ten performer Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree. Farrand led the team with 118 tackles (70 solo), including a 19-tackle performance at Indiana which earned him Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors. Goree finished third on the team and set a career-high with 98 tackles (65 solo) during his senior campaign.
Under Dudzinski in 2013, Farrand and Goree ranked second and third, respectively, in tackles on the team. Farrand totaled 84 tackles last season including a career-high 23-tackle performance against Clemson. It marked the most tackles by a Maryland player in a game since 1990. Farrand also posted 4.5 tackles for loss and forced one fumble en route to honorable mention All-ACC honors.
Goree totaled a then career-best 76 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Goree took home ACC Linebacker of the Week honors following the Terps’ win over Virginia after racking up a career-best 16 stops, nine solo.
In 2012, Dudzinski’s two starting inside linebackers (Demetrius Hartsfield and Farrand) tied for the team lead with 78 tackles, with Hartsfield earning second-team All-ACC honors. The Maryland defensive unit finished the season ranked second in the ACC and 21st nationally in overall defense (336.8 ypg), second in the ACC and 26th nationally in run defense (129.3 ypg) and sixth in the ACC in scoring (27.2 ppg).
Prior to coming to Maryland, Dudzinski served as the defensive coordinator at UMass-Amherst the previous seven years, his second stop at the school and second career stint as a coordinator. During his tenure, the Minutemen maintained one of the top defensive units in the nation.
UMass finished among the top-20 in total defense three times (third in 2005; 20th in 2006; 13th in 2007) and the Minutemen were also first nationally in scoring defense in 2005 and fifth in 2006.
Under Dudzinski’s watch, UMass linebacker Tyler Holmes was a finalist for the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award, honoring the top defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
In 2009, Holmes was named All-Colonial Athletic Association after racking up 100 tackles. In 2008, guided by Dudzinski UMass had one of the top linebacker corps in the nation led by first team all-conference selection Josh Jennings who racked up 90 tackles.
The 2007 season was no different as the Minutemen led the CAA in total defense (309.6 yards per game), scoring defense (19.2 points per game), sacks, tackles for loss and passing efficiency defense. The UMass defense had five first-team All-CAA selections that year including linebackers Jason Hatchell and Charles Walker, who both worked directly with Dudzinski.
Hatchell was an All-American and Buchanan Award candidate in 2007 after piling up 115 tackles. He finished his career with 360 stops, sixth in UMass history. Walker had a team-high 116 tackles in 2007 and finished ninth in career stops (340).
UMass' defense was impressive throughout the 2006 season as the Minutemen advanced to the National Championship game. The Minutemen led the nation in scoring defense until that championship game, finishing fifth, giving up 13.3 points per game. The Minutemen finished in the top-20 nationally in nine defensive statistics.
Dudzinski worked directly with three all-league linebackers in Hatchell, Walker and Brad Anderson. All three players racked up more than 100 tackles on the season. Hatchell, also an All-American that season, emerged as one of the nation's top tacklers after finishing second in the conference with 134 stops.
The Minutemen had a league-best 20 all-conference honorees in 2006, including eight on defense.
During his second season in Amherst, Mass., Dudzinski oversaw a defense which led the nation in fewest points allowed (13.3 ppg). The Minutemen also led the Atlantic 10 in five defensive categories and ranked in the nation's top five in four. UMass topped the conference in total yardage defense, passing defense, pass efficiency defense, net punting and scoring defense.
Working with the linebackers, he coached two A-10 second-team honorees in two-time team captain Serge Tikum and Hatchell, who had a team-high 107 tackles. The defense also included two-time consensus first-team All-American Shannon James and all-league selections defensive end Keron Williams and safety James Ihedigbo.
In 2004, Dudzinski headed up a defense which featured consensus first-team All-American Shannon James, who led the nation in interceptions.
Dudzinski spent two seasons (2002-03) as linebackers coach at Northeastern, including defensive coordinator his final year.
He directed the career of first team All-American and two-time first team All-Atlantic 10 selection Liam Ezekiel, who made 140 total tackles in 2003.
During the 2002 season, the Huskies allowed opponents only 299.3 total yards and 16.0 points per game. During the 2002 campaign, Dudzinski helped lead Northeastern to a record of 10-3, a share of the Atlantic 10 Conference title and the school's first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) Playoffs.
During his first stint as an assistant coach at UMass, Dudzinski served in a variety of roles on the defensive side of the ball. He coached the secondary in 2001, the linebackers in 1999 and 2000, and the defensive line in 1998. He also oversaw the special teams his final three seasons.
Dudzinski guided the career of Kole Ayi, who was a two-time first team All-American (1999-2000) and two-time Buck Buchanan Award finalist.
Dudzinski first joined the UMass staff after spending four years at Brown as the defensive line coach for the Bears. Dudzinski helped the Brown defense hold opponents to just 194 total points during the 1997 season (19.4 points per game) -- the fewest number of points allowed by the school in 10 years. While at Brown, he helped develop two-time first-team All-Ivy defensive tackle Brendan Finneran (1996 and 1997).
Prior to coming to Brown, Dudzinski was a defensive assistant at New Haven for three years (1991-93), working with the outside linebackers. He has also worked as an assistant coach at Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport, Conn., and St. Joseph's High School in Trumbull, Conn.
Dudzinski is a 1991 graduate of the University of New Haven, where he was an All-New England linebacker and team captain as a senior. He and his wife, Kathy, have one son, Jack, and two daughters, Mary Kathryn and Elizabeth.
The Dudzinski File
Date of Birth: Nov. 17, 1968
2011-14: Assistant Coach - Inside Linebackers
University of New Haven
• Primary: Maryland, New York and Northern New Jersey