New York Jets assistant special teams coach Ben Kotwica is an Army man through and through. We often hear the term "Michigan man" applied to loyal members of the University of Michigan family, especially recently when Michigan has been looking for a new head coach – they found their Michigan man in Brady Hoke. Being an Army man runs deeper than that. Ben Kotwica came to the Jets after playing under another member of the current Jets' staff at the United States Military Academy, where he was a three-year starter at linebacker for Bob Sutton. This being Memorial Day Weekend, and with a unique opportunity currently being presented to Kotwica, there is no better time to feature the assistant to Mike Westhoff.
As mentioned above, New York Jets assistant special teams coach Ben Kotwica was a three-year starter on the football team at West Point and also served as captain of the best Army football team in recent memory, as the Black Knights posted a 10-2 record in 1996. Kotwica played for current Jets assistant head coach and linebackers coach Bob Sutton.
Kotwica went on to serve seven years in the Army after graduating from West Point. Kotwica earned the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Award and the Bronze Star during his service. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and flew the AH-64 Apache Longbow helicopter.
Throughout his service Kotwica distinguished himself numerous times as a leader. From 1998-2001 he served as an Attack Helicopter Platoon Leader then went on to serve as a Battalion Executive Officer in 2003, overseeing a unit of 300 soldiers and 24 attack helicopters. Kotwica flew over 1,000 combat hours during Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
Decorated doesn't do justice to Ben Kotwica's military service. Now, he faces a new challenge.
Kotwica spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School before joining the Jets as a quality control coach on defense and special teams. After two seasons in that role, he was promoted to assistant special teams coach in 2008.
Kotwica has learned under the best as the right hand man of Mike Westhoff. With Westhoff sidelined until the start of training camp due to surgery, Kotwica has once again been thrust into a leadership position as he will run the special teams for the Jets until Westhoff returns, offering him a unique opportunity.
Westhoff is expected to retire at the end of the 2012 season. He has outright told the media that he will retire, and the latest health issue could serve to seal the deal. With the Jets needing a replacement next season, Kotwica now has a chance to audition for the job over the next two months.
With a resume like Kotwica's, having such demonstrated leadership ability and even a few seasons as an apprentice under perhaps the best special teams coach in the history of the game, is it even a question whether Ben Kotwica is the right choice to succeed Mike Westhoff?
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