What we know: Special Teams guru Mike Westhoff has retired, and now the New York Jets look to their new coach, Ben Kotwica, to lead this unit.
Mike Westhoff coached the Jets special teams from 2001 up until this past season, when he finally decided to retire. For years this unit was considered to be one of the best in the league with Westhoff running it but it was in the 2012-2013 season where things took a drastic change.
Week after week the opposition seemed to either score a special teams touchdown or at least reel off a huge run, all seemingly starting in a blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 8. As we all know the Jets would finish at 6-10, with a subpar special teams and nightmarish offense, thus ending the Mike Westhoff era in New York.
Now the question is, what can Ben Kotwica bring to the table?
Ben Kotwica's career, both as a player and a coach:
|2006-2007||U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School||Defensive Coordinator|
|2008-2009||New York Jets||Quality Control Coach|
|2010-2012||New York Jets||Assistant Special Teams Coach|
|2013||New York Jets||Special Teams Coordinator|
After starting as a linebacker for 3 seasons at Army and leading them as their captain to a 10-2 record in 1996--their best in team history--Ben Kotwica entered the Armed Forces. It was upon his return from duty when former Jets coach Bob Sutton told head coach Eric Mangini to hire him. Since then he's been promoted twice, and is now in charge of running the Special Teams unit.
Those who know him rave about his personality and the way he goes about his business, in the military and now in the National Football League. It was Kotwica himself who said this in an interview with the NFL Network in 2012: "When you can get a group of people that is fighting for someone and not something, it doesn't matter whether you're on the turf of the Meadowlands, if you're in the desert of Iraq or if you're in the mountains of Afghanistan, you can overcome tremendous challenges and obstacles."
There's no way of knowing exactly how he'll do as coach of the Special Teams unit until we see results on the field but as a member of the Army for many years, we know that he brings dignity, discipline and determination to the table and those are the things that he will pass down to his players as their coach.
One thing's for sure--you have to love his attitude.