Penn State officially hires Kotelnicki away from KU

photo by: Chance Parker/Journal-World photo

KU offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki calls out directions to the offense during practice on Aug. 4, 2022.

Penn State officially announced Friday that it has hired Kansas’ Andy Kotelnicki as its new offensive coordinator.

In a press release, he called it a “tremendous honor” to join James Franklin’s staff.

“I would also like to thank Coach Leipold, the coaching staff and the student-athletes who I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with at Kansas and wish them nothing but the best,” he said.

Kotelnicki spent three years at KU under head coach Lance Leipold, leading some of the most dynamic offenses in program history in 2022 and 2023, as both averaged 7.0 yards per play. He has been noted by opposing coaches for his creative on-field alignments, extensive use of motion and wide-ranging option concepts.

“Our search process for an offensive coordinator was extensive and throughout it, Andy’s name kept rising to the top of the list,” Franklin said in the press release. “Not only were we impressed with Andy’s history of successful offensive production, but he has proven ability to win at all levels and play to the strength of his personnel.

“In his 18 years as a play caller, he has a track record of coming into a program and improving offenses, especially through explosive plays, third down conversions and red zone success. We are thrilled to have Andy and his family join us in Happy Valley.”

Kotelnicki, who had previously served under Leipold since at his prior two stops at Wisconsin-Whitewater and Buffalo, will now work for a different head coach for the first time since he was at the Division II University of Mary in 2012. He becomes the sixth offensive coordinator of Franklin’s 10-year tenure.

For KU, the focus now turns to who will run the offense in the bowl game and beyond. The Jayhawks announced quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski’s promotion to “co-offensive coordinator” Thursday as news of Kotelnicki’s departure broke, and as a former offensive coordinator, including under Leipold at Whitewater, Zebrowski would seem the immediate favorite.

What is not as clear is who will coach tight ends — Kotelnicki’s former position group — and whether a new hire to replace Kotelnicki might have the title of offensive coordinator or be appointed as a fellow “co-offensive coordinator” alongside Zebrowski. KU promoted Jordan Peterson to “co-defensive coordinator” as well Thursday but Brian Borland is still retaining the title of defensive coordinator, per a spokesperson.

The Jayhawks may also have to adjust some recruiting relationships. Many recruits in the class of 2024 reiterated their support for KU after Thursday’s news of Kotelnicki’s departure and Zebrowski and Peterson’s promotions.


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