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UMass hires former Arizona assistant Keith Dudzinski as defensive coordinator

He’s rejoining Don Brown back east

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An independent program that has yet to post a winning season at the Division I level is betting on not one but two Arizona Wildcats coaches to help get things going.

UMass has hired former UA linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski to be its defensive coordinator, making him the second Wildcat assistant to take a gig in Amherst, Mass. in the past month. The other is Don Brown, who was Arizona’s defensive coordinator this past season and is now the Minutemen’s head coach.

Dudzinski coached linebackers and special teams for the Wildcats, joining Jedd Fisch’s first staff at the UA as an unofficial package deal with Brown. The two had previously coached together at Michigan in 2020 as well as Northeastern (2002-03), UMass (1998-99) and Brown (1996-97).

This will be Dudzinski’s third stint at UMass and second as defensive coordinator, holding that position from 2004-10 with Brown as his head coach from 2004-08.

UMass, which moved up to the FBS level in 2012, is 20-81 since then with no more than four wins in a season.

Arizona had already filled Dudzinski's spot on the coaching staff, hiring Jason Kaufusi from UCLA. Kaufusi will coach the outside linebackers and edge rushers, new defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen will handle the inside linebackers and defensive line coach Ricky Hunley will handle the interior linemen.

Kaufusi will also share special teams duties with tight ends coach Jordan Paopao.