Osterhout pulls coach from UC Davis to lead defensive backs at ARC


Matthew Peirson

Will Kofe, left, helps run a practice drill during ARC's last spring practice on May 12. Kofe had been the defensive line coach the past three years at UC Davis before joining ARC's staff.

In a move that adds to over 40 years of Division I experience to American River College football’s head coaching staff, Will Kofe has been hired as ARC’s defensive backs coach.

Kofe had been the defensive line coach at UC Davis for the past three years and was recruited to join ARC’s staff by head coach Jon Osterhout.

“He’s just an incredible human being and an incredible football coach,” Osterhout said of Kofe.

“Why wouldn’t you hire a guy with his knowledge, experience… (Division) I experience.”

Kofe and head coach Jon Osterhout worked together previously at Sacramento State University. Kofe was the assistant defensive coordinator under Lou Baiz, who is now ARC’s defensive coordinator.

Baiz was in charge of the defensive backs as well his coordinating duties for ARC prior to Kofe’s hire, but will now be able to roam free to oversee the defense.

“This will free (Baiz) up to float and coach the entire defense, not just his position,” Osterhout said.

Kofe briefly spent some time coaching at ARC during the spring of 2011 under then-head coach Jerry Haflich, but did not join the staff for the 2011 season in the fall.

Kofe’s chief reason for joining ARC’s staff ties both of his families together: his blood family and his football family.

“(It was) more for my family,” Kofe said. “Given me the time to spend more time for my kids.”

Kofe said he doesn’t think twice about leaving Davis for ARC.

“I don’t regret it either,” Kofe said of the change. “(Division) I is nice man. Division I is great. But my family is more important.”

Kofe also said the atmosphere among the coaches is a big reason he decided to join the staff.

“I think the camaraderie between the coaching staff is pretty solid. And that’s important,” he said.

“It’s pretty much like coming back to family.”

Kofe has football history in his family. His uncle Alfred Pupunu played nine seasons in the NFL from 1992 to 2000 as a tight end, primarily for the San Diego Chargers.

Pupunu was a member of San Diego’s 1994 team that reached Super Bowl XXXIX and scored a touchdown in its 17-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.

Osterhout has worked with most all of the coaching staff prior to taking the reigns at ARC in 2014, and as he was with his most recent addition to the staff, is thrilled to have Kofe be a part of it.

“He’s got an abundance of energy,” Osterhout said.

“He’s been through all walks of life. He’s a tremendous example and will be a great mentor to our student athletes here at American River College.”

Perhaps uncoincidentally, Kofe is most looking forward to seeing the growth of the players both on and off the field over the course of the season.

“Can’t wait. Can’t wait to see these young men grow,” he said. “See them learn new things and get excited about it.”

Kofe said he is also excited to be under Baiz’s leadership again and be a part of a successful team.

“American River College has built themselves to be a powerhouse in California,” he said.

“What I’m excited about it to see the process to get there. What do the coaches do? What do the players do?”

Kofe has one goal as the team prepares for the season over the summer.

“To create a team, and take them to the championship. That’s what I’m excited about.”