Joe Cauthen named Defensive Coordinator at Utah State – Cache Valley Daily

LOGAN, Utah – Joe Cauthen (Cath-en) has been named Utah State’s defensive coordinator, it was announced Friday by head football coach Blake Anderson.

Cauthen has worked with Anderson before as he was Arkansas State’s defensive coordinator from 2014-18, helping the Red Wolves to a pair of conference championships and five-consecutive bowl games.

Overall, Cauthen has 33 years of coaching experience, including 27 at the collegiate level, and is entering his 22nd year as a defensive coordinator. He has been part of five conference championship teams, including one national championship squad, and has coached in seven bowl games.

Cauthen comes to Utah State after spending the 2022 season as the defensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin, where he helped the Lumberjacks win the Western Athletic Conference Championship. Cauthen’s defense ranked among the best at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level last season as it forced 19 turnovers with 11 interceptions and eight fumbles and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns.

Under Cauthen, Stephen F. Austin had nine defenders earn all-WAC honors, including a pair of All-Americans in defensive linemen BJ Thompson and Edward Bobino.

Cauthen spent the 2021 season as the defensive coordinator at Buffalo, where the Bulls ranked 14th nationally in red zone defense (.735), 16th in sacks (3.08 per game) and 36th in tackles for loss (6.5 per game). Cauthen also mentored a pair of all-conference performers in linebacker James Patterson and defensive lineman Daymond Williams.

Prior to coaching at Buffalo, Cauthen spent four months on staff at Arkansas as a defensive analyst.

During the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Cauthen served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Houston. In 2020, his defense ranked 16th in the nation in sacks (3.00 per game), 21st in tackles for loss (7.4 per game) and 55th in total defense (398.5 yards allowed per game).

Prior to being hired at Houston, Cauthen spent five seasons as defensive coordinator at Arkansas State as the Red Wolves ranked among the top-21 teams in the nation in defensive touchdowns during his final four seasons with 22. The 2015 campaign saw A-State’s defense record an FBS-high eight touchdowns, while also leading the country in interceptions with a school FBS-era-record 26. During Cauthen’s time at A-State, the Red Wolves totaled 79 interceptions, the seventh-best nationally during that span.

In addition, Arkansas State totaled at least five tackles for loss in 39 of its last 42 games and ranked in the top-25 nationally in tackles for loss between 2016 and 2018, including 13th in 2018.

In 2018, Arkansas State ranked 11th nationally in passing defense, allowing 177.8 yards per game. Individually, defensive end Ronheen Bingham was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was one of six A-State players to earn postseason honors.

During the 2017 season, Arkansas State’s defense ranked sixth nationally in tackles for loss (8.3 per game), ninth in fourth down conversions (.364), 19th in sacks (2.92 per game), 21st in defensive touchdowns (3), 21st in third down conversions (.330), 27th in fumbles recovered (10), 29th in turnovers gained (24), 32nd in passes intercepted (14) and first downs allowed (233), 33rd in rushing defense (136.1 yards per game) and 42nd in red zone defense (.806).

Following the 2017 season, eight players were named all-Sun Belt Conference, including defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, who finished his career as the NCAA’s second all-time leader in career sacks and was tabbed the league’s Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

In 2016, Arkansas State led the nation with 9.6 tackles for loss per game and was sixth nationally with 3.31 sacks per outing. Rolland-Jones was among nine defensive players named all-Sun Belt, helping the Red Wolves rank fourth in the nation in fourth down conversion percentage defense (.250), eighth in defensive touchdowns (4), 19th in scoring defense (21.5 points per game), 23rd in pass efficiency defense (117.25), 24th in fumbles recovered (11) and 29th in total defense (362.8 yards allowed per game).

Cauthen’s defensive unit finished the 2015 season ranked second in the country in turnovers gained (34), 11th in fourth-down conversion percentage defense (.333), 19th in third-down conversion defense (.335), 41st in sacks (2.38 per game) and 44th in rushing defense (151.5 yards allowed per game).

During Cauthen’s first year at Arkansas State in 2014, the Red Wolves ranked 14th in the nation in defensive touchdowns (4), 15th in passes intercepted (16), 17th in team sacks (2.85 per game), 21st in turnovers gained (28), 27th in third down percentage defense (.359), 28th in fumbles recovered (12), 36th in fourth down percentage defense (.435) and team tackles for loss (6.6 per game), 42nd in red zone defense (.795), 44th in passing yards allowed (216.0 yards per game) and 45th in team passing efficiency defense (122.26).

Prior to Arkansas State, Cauthen spent the three seasons at Middle Tennessee, serving as the Blue Raiders’ defensive line coach in 2012 and 2013 after working as the linebackers coach in 2011. He was also the special teams coordinator all three years at MTSU.

The Blue Raiders put together back-to-back eight-win seasons during Cauthen’s last two years at the school and played in the Armed Forces Bowl in 2013. He tutored a pair of all-conference players during his time as defensive line coach, including Jimmy Staten in 2013 and Omar McLendon in 2012.

Middle Tennessee proved to be an opportunistic defense in 2013 with Cauthen a part of the coaching staff as the Blue Raiders ranked fifth in the nation in turnovers gained with 33, including 15 interceptions and 18 fumble recoveries. MTSU also ranked 17th nationally in red zone defense (.755) and 19th nationally in passing defense (203.4 yards allowed per game). His defensive line also helped the team rack up 67 tackles for loss and 27 sacks.

Cauthen made his way to Middle Tennessee after spending the previous four seasons as the defensive coordinator at Valdosta State. In 2010, Cauthen helped lead Valdosta State to a Gulf South Conference Championship after his defense ranked 23rd nationally in total defense and 18th in scoring defense. His unit was led by All-American and National Defensive Player of the Year Larry Dean, who had 122 tackles.

Cauthen’s defense was dominant during the 2008 season as it finished 24th nationally in scoring defense (18.6 points per game), 31st in total defense (304.6 yards allowed per game) and 31st in rushing defense (108.3 yards allowed per game).

In 2007, Cauthen directed a unit that finished 14th in the nation in scoring defense at 17.6 points per game as Valdosta State won its second national title. That year, VSU led the nation in passes intercepted with 27 and was second in turnovers gained with 40. Additionally, Valdosta State was 25th in passing efficiency defense (105.9) and 33rd in rushing defense (120.9 yards allowed per game).

Prior to Valdosta State, Cauthen had coaching stints at Texas A&M-Commerce, Stephen F. Austin and Trinity Valley Community College. During his seven seasons with Texas A&M-Commerce, Cauthen coached six All-Americans, four Lone Star Conference (LSC) Linebackers of the Year, three Defensive Lineman of the Year, one Defensive Back of the Year and 34 defensive players that earned LSC honors at least once during their career.

Cauthen earned his bachelor’s degree in health and kinesiology with a minor in biology from Stephen F. Austin in 1990. He also obtained a master’s degree in sports administration from the University of Texas-Tyler in 1997. Cauthen is married to the former Annittia Chapman and they share four children — Brooklyn, Hayden, Dakota and Jackson.



Coaching History

2023-                     Utah State – Defensive Coordinator

2022                 Stephen F. Austin – Defensive Coordinator

2021                 Buffalo – Defensive Coordinator

2021                 Arkansas – Defensive Analyst

2019-20            Houston – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

2014-18            Arkansas State – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

2012-13            Middle Tennessee – Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Line

2011                 Middle Tennessee – Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers

2007-10            Valdosta State – Defensive Coordinator

1999-2006        Texas A&M-Commerce – Defensive Coordinator

1997-98            Stephen F. Austin – Defensive Line

1996                 Trinity Valley CC – Defensive Line

1990-95            Sherman (Texas) HS – Assistant


Bowl Games (7)

Houston (1): 2020 New Mexico Bowl

Arkansas State (5): 2018 Arizona Bowl; 2017 Camellia Bowl; 2016 Cure Bowl; 2015 New Orleans Bowl; 2014 GoDaddy Bowl

Middle Tennessee (1): 2013 Armed Forces Bowl


National Championships (1)

Valdosta State (1) – NCAA Division II, 2007


Conference Championships (5)

Stephen F. Austin (1) – WAC: 2022

Arkansas State (2) – Sun Belt: 2015, 2016

Valdosta State (2) – Gulf South: 2007, 2010


NCAA Division II Playoffs (3)

Valdosta State (3) – 2007, 2008, 2010



1997                Texas-Tyler – Sports Administration (M.A.)

1990                Stephen F. Austin – Health and Kinesiology (B.S.)



Wife – Annittia; Children – Brooklyn, Hayden, Dakota, Jackson


– USU –

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