BYU Football Hires Kelly Poppinga As Special Teams Coordinator

Dec 7, 2022, 11:25 AM | Updated: 12:01 pm
BYU Football, Kelly Poppinga, Defensive Staff...
Former BYU LB Kelly Poppinga is back in Provo. He will be the Special Teams Coordinator for Kalani Sitake and defensive assistant with Jay Hill. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)
(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Former BYU football linebacker and assistant coach Kelly Poppinga is back at his alma mater. Poppinga leaves Boise State after one season on The Blue.

He returns to BYU as the special teams coordinator and defensive assistant coach on Jay Hill’s defense. The specific defensive position that Poppinga will coach is going to be determined at a later date.

“I am so excited to work with Kelly,” said new BYU defensive coordinator and associate head coach Jay Hill. “Having coached against him when he was a player, I saw his toughness and tenacity up close. As a coach, his players always performed great on game day. He is a phenomenal recruiter that does the little things right and will bring great players into our program. BYU is lucky to have Kelly back, and I’m super excited to be working side-by-side with him. We can’t wait to bring championship defense to Provo.”

Poppinga began his coaching career after his playing days concluded. He started out as a defensive intern at BYU in 2009 under Bronco Mendenhall. Poppinga worked his way up to special teams coordinator and linebackers coach on Bronco Mendenhall’s staff.

He followed Mendenhall to Virginia, where he was a Co-Defensive Coordinator for the Wahoos.

“So fired up to be back repping the Y! Thanks Coach Sitake! It’s time to get to work! #GoCougs Also, I am grateful for the opportunity Boise St gave me and can’t express enough the gratitude I have toward the players for all their hard work and efforts and I wish them all the best,” wrote Poppinga on Twitter.

During his previous stint as an assistant at BYU, Poppinga was instrumental in landing a signature from former BYU star and current All-Pro 49ers linebacker Fred Warner. Warner signed with BYU over offers from USC and other Pac-12 universities back in 2014.

Along with Warner, Poppinga coached Kyle Van Noy and Sione Takitaki. All three players are still in the NFL today.

“Kelly is a BYU guy who has a ton of previous experience with BYU football, having both played here and coached here,” Sitake said. “He’s recruited and coached some great players over his career, guys he has helped get to the NFL. Kelly is a tireless worker and a relentless recruiter. He brings outstanding experience as a special teams coordinator and defensive coach and coordinator from his time at Virginia in the ACC and with Boise State. I’m excited to have him back at BYU.”

As a player at BYU from 2005-2007, Poppinga was an All-Mountain West linebacker in BYU’s 3-4 defensive scheme that won two conference titles. The last two league titles the program has claimed.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s BYU football coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Football Hires Kelly Poppinga As Special Teams Coordinator