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James Bettcher
Defensive Coordinator
College:
University of St. Francis (IN)
Hometown:
Lakeview, IN
Experience:
4

Biography

NoteCARDS:

• Promoted to Cardinals defensive coordinator on 2/4/15 after spending the past two seasons coaching Arizona’s outside linebackers.

• Under his guidance with the Cardinals, OLB John Abraham was selected to his fifth career Pro Bowl, and first as a linebacker, after he led the team with 11.5 sacks in 2013, the most sacks by a linebacker in a single-season in team history; OLB Alex Okafor led the Cardinals with eight sacks in 2014 after only playing in 13 games.

• Spent one season in Indianapolis (2012) and coached OLB Robert Mathis to his first Pro Bowl at OLB and his fifth selection overall.

• First worked with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano as a defensive assistant at the University of North Carolina when Pagano was the defensive coordinator and Butch Davis was the head coach.

NoteCARDS:

• Promoted to Cardinals defensive coordinator on 2/4/15 after spending the past two seasons coaching Arizona’s outside linebackers.

• Under his guidance with the Cardinals, OLB John Abraham was selected to his fifth career Pro Bowl, and first as a linebacker, after he led the team with 11.5 sacks in 2013, the most sacks by a linebacker in a single-season in team history; OLB Alex Okafor led the Cardinals with eight sacks in 2014 after only playing in 13 games.

• Spent one season in Indianapolis (2012) and coached OLB Robert Mathis to his first Pro Bowl at OLB and his fifth selection overall.

• First worked with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano as a defensive assistant at the University of North Carolina when Pagano was the defensive coordinator and Butch Davis was the head coach.

James Bettcher enters his third season with the Cardinals and first as defensive coordinator after he was promoted on 2/4/15. He spent the past two seasons coaching Arizona’s outside linebackers after originally joining the Cardinals staff on 2/5/13. The 37-year old Bettcher is in his fourth season in the NFL after coaching the Colts outside linebackers in 2012.

Last season, he tutored OLB Alex Okafor who had a team-leading eight sacks in just 13 games. Arizona’s defense allowed just 18.7 points per game, the fifth lowest average in the league, while allowing 20 points or fewer in an NFL-high 13 games. The Cardinals defense allowed just 299 points, the first time the team has allowed fewer than 300 points in a season since 1994 (267).

In his first season in Arizona in 2013, Bettcher helped coach a Cardinals defense that collected 47 sacks, the third-highest total in franchise history, while also finishing with the NFL’s sixth-ranked overall defense and featuring the league’s top-ranked run defense (84.4 yards per game). The Cardinals allowed the fewest rushing yards in team history for a 16-game season (1,351). OLB John Abraham was selected to his fifth career Pro Bowl, and first as a linebacker, after he led the team with 11.5 sacks in 2013, the most sacks by a linebacker in a single-season in team history.

In 2012, Bettcher worked as the special assistant to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and 2012 NFL Coach of the Year Bruce Arians, who served as interim head coach for 12 games while Pagano was receiving treatment for leukemia. Bettcher worked with the Colts outside linebackers, helping Robert Mathis earn a selection to his first Pro Bowl at OLB and his fifth selection overall. The Colts improved from 2-14 in 2011 to 11-5 in 2012, tied for the third-largest turnaround in NFL history and earned a Wild Card berth in the AFC playoffs.

Prior to joining the Colts, Bettcher spent nine years in the college coaching ranks. In 2011, he served as linebackers coach/special teams coordinator at New Hampshire, and he coached the NCAA FCS leading tackler and 2011 Buck Buchanan Award Winner (FCS National Defensive Player of the Year) Matt Evans. He also helped the Wildcats rank in the top 20 nationally in both punt return and punt coverage.

Bettcher coached defensive ends and special teams at Ball State in 2010, where he helped tutor Robert Eddins who led the team in sacks and earned All-MAC honors. From 2007-2009, Bettcher worked as a defensive assistant/defensive graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina, coaching linebackers and special teams and helped the 2009 team finish sixth in the nation in overall defense. At UNC, Bettcher worked with future NFL Pro Bowler Robert Quinn in addition to linebackers Bruce Carter and Quinton Coples. In 2006, he was a defensive graduate assistant at Bowling Green State University, working with the secondary and special teams units.

His coaching career began at his alma mater, the University of St. Francis (IN) from 2003-05 as special teams coordinator and defensive line coach. He also worked with the strength and conditioning staff and was the head track coach in 2003-04. During his stint at St. Francis, the Cougars made three trips to the NAIA playoffs, including two national championship game appearances.

During his playing career at St. Francis as an offensive lineman, Bettcher was a three-time NAIA All-America Scholar, a three-time Mid-States Football Association Scholar, a two-time NAIA Coaches All-America choice and a two-time Don Hansen’s All-America selection. He earned all-conference honors three times and was the recipient of the Silver Helmet Award for leadership, coachability and performance on the field in 2002. Bettcher was also a five-time track All-America choice for the Cougars, where he placed second in the shot put at the 2001 NAIA Championships.

Bettcher, a native of Lakeville, IN, was inducted into the University of St. Francis Hall of Fame in 2012. He and his wife, Erica, have one son, Colton.

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