clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bios for James Bettcher, Bob Sanders, Mike Chiurco, Wesley Goodwin

New, comments

A look at the careers of the new (and newly promoted) defensive staff.

This is a photo of James Bettcher of the Arizona Cardinals NFL football team. This image reflects the Arizona Cardinals active roster as of Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (AP Photo)
This is a photo of James Bettcher of the Arizona Cardinals NFL football team. This image reflects the Arizona Cardinals active roster as of Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (AP Photo)
Associated Press

Alex promised you more detailed bios of the defensive staff who were either added or promoted on the Arizona Cardinals defensive coaching staff.

I bring you said bios.

James Bettcher, the newly promoted defensive coordinator, coached the Cardinals outside linebackers the past two seasons after working in the same capacity with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. He coached linebacker John Abraham, who in 2013 was selected to the Pro Bowl after collecting 11.5 sacks, the most sacks by a linebacker in a single-season in team history. He also tutored Alex Okafor who had a team-leading eight sacks in 2014. Bettcher was part of a defensive coaching staff that helped the Cardinals finish with the NFL's top ranked run defense (84.4 yards per game) in 2013 while collecting 47 sacks, the third-highest total in franchise history. In 2014, 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 36-year old Bettcher joined the Cardinals two years ago after spending the 2012 season as the special assistant to Head Coach Chuck Pagano with Indianapolis while also tutoring the Colts outside linebackers. He helped Robert Mathis earn his first Pro Bowl selection at OLB and fifth selection overall that season. Prior to joining the Colts, Bettcher spent nine years in the college coaching ranks, including in 2011 as linebackers/special teams coordinator at New Hampshire. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, University of St. Francis, from 2003-05 as special teams coordinator and defensive line coach. Bettcher then worked as a defensive graduate assistant at Bowling Green (2006) before serving in the same role at North Carolina (2007-09). He coached defensive ends and special teams at Ball State in 2010 before moving to New Hampshire.

Bob Sanders, brought on to be the linebackers coach and the senior coaching presence for Bettcher, comes to the Cardinals after coaching the Raiders linebackers the past two seasons. A veteran assistant coach with 36 years of experience at the collegiate and NFL level including as a defensive coordinator with Green Bay for three seasons, Sanders helped tutor rookie linebacker Khalil Mack in 2014 as he collected 84 tackles, four sacks, four passes defensed and one forced fumble while starting all 16 games with the Raiders. Prior to joining the Raiders in 2013, Sanders worked with the Buffalo Bills coaching the defensive line and linebackers for four seasons (2009-12). He served as the defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers for three seasons (2006-08) after beginning his Packers tenure as defensive ends coach in 2005.

His first NFL coaching assignment came with the Miami Dolphins for four seasons (2001-04) as linebackers coach. With the Dolphins, Sanders helped linebacker Zach Thomas earn three straight Pro Bowl selections. A college assistant for 22 years, Sanders coached at Florida (1990-2000) for 11 seasons on the defensive side of the ball and helped the Gators win the national championship in 1996. Prior to working at Florida, Sanders coached five seasons at Duke (1985-89), two years at Richmond (1983-84), and three seasons at East Carolina (1980-82). His first collegiate position was a part-time job at Georgia Tech in 1978 sandwiched between three years (1976-77, 1979) at the high school level.

Mike Chiurco, promoted to defensive assistant/assistant defensive backs coach, has worked the past two seasons as the assistant to head coach Bruce Arians after joining the team in 2013. He previously worked in the Colts scouting department for four years (1999-2003). Chiurco began his coaching career at his alma mater, Ohio State in 1998 assisting Buckeyes defensive backs and quarterbacks for three years before coaching at the high school level for 18 seasons in Ohio.

Wesley Goodwin, who replaces Chiurco as assistant to the head coach, joins the Cardinals from Clemson where he spent the last six seasons, including the past three years as a defensive analyst. While at Clemson, Goodwin was in charge of all defensive breakdowns and opponent scouting, assisted with on-campus recruiting and also served as an assistant NFL liaison. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Mississippi State as a student assistant in 2006-07 and worked as a graduate assistant in 2008.