Kelly Poppinga enters his second season at Virginia on Bronco Mendenhall’s staff and is the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach.
Poppinga (PUH-ping-guh) oversaw one of the nation’s most effective punters as Nicholas Conte was named a first-team All-ACC honoree and led the league with a 44.3 yards per punt average. The Ray Guy Award semifinalist led the nation through regular season with 34 punts inside the 20 and with 15 punts inside the 10, while six of his punts were downed at the one. Conte was No. 3 in the nation before bowl season with 23 punts of 50 yards or more. Between Conte’s punts and the punt coverage team, 80 percent of UVA’s punts were not returned. Conte concluded his UVA career No. 1 all-time at UVA and No. 3 all-time in the ACC with a 44.45 yards per punt average.Poppinga started his collegiate coaching career at BYU, which began in 2009 as a defensive intern on Mendenhall’s staff. In 2010 Poppinga was a defensive graduate assistant and interim outside linebacker coach. His first full-time position came in 2011 when Poppinga was elevated to linebacker coach.
From 2013-15 Poppinga was BYU’s special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach.
Poppinga helped outside linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Alani Fua advance to the NFL in recent years with Van Noy selected by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and Fua earning a spot with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015.
In 2014 BYU ranked No. 20 in rushing defense and Poppinga helped a defensive unit finish the 2015 regular season ranked No. 6 nationaly in sacks per game and No. 15 in tackles for loss. Under Poppinga, BYU's special teams also ranked No. 7 in punting average and No. 19 in kick return coverage in 2014.
Poppinga assisted one of BYU's best-ever defenses in 2012 when the Cougars finished No. 3 in the nation in total defense and ranked in the top 10 in six different defensive categories.
Poppinga started his coaching career at BYU in 2009 as the defensive intern and contributed to the team's 11-2 record and 44-20 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas victory over No. 16 Oregon State. After the team’s 1-4 start in 2010, Poppinga was asked as the defensive graduate assistant to assume the role as outside linebackers coach and helped the Cougars finish 6-2 over the remaining games, including a 52-24 win over UTEP at the New Mexico Bowl.
As a player, Poppinga was an All-Mountain West Conference linebacker and Academic All-MWC honoree at BYU under Mendenhall while helping the Cougars achieve back-to-back conference championships in 2006 and 2007. Poppinga redshirted Mendenhall’s first season as head coach at BYU in 2005 after transferring from Utah State where he played two years (2003-04). Poppinga helped BYU achieve Las Vegas Bowl wins over Oregon and UCLA and led the team with 113 tackles his senior season. He spent the 2008 season with three NFL teams before going to Super Bowl XLIII with the Arizona Cardinals.
A native of Evanston, Wyo., Poppinga has completed bachelor’s (2007) and master’s (2010) degrees from BYU in exercise science. Poppinga and his wife, Rebekah, have four daughters.
|Coach Poppinga (PUH-ping-guh)
|High School||Evanston HS, Evanston, Wyo., 2003|
|Graduate School||BYU, 2010, M.A., exercise science|
|Family||wife, Rebekah; four daughters|
|Utah State (2003-04)|
|Miami Dolphins (2008)|
|St. Louis Rams (2008)|
|Arizona Cardinals (2008)|
|2009 - BYU
|2010 - BYU
Graduate Assistant/Interim Outside Linebackers
|2011-12 - BYU
|2013-15 - BYU
Special Teams Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
|2016-present - Virginia
Special Teams Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
|Las Vegas Bowl (2006) – player|
|Las Vegas Bowl (2007) – player|
|Las Vegas Bowl (2009)|
|New Mexico Bowl (2010)|
|Armed Forces Bowl (2011)|
|Poinsettia Bowl (2012)|
|Fight Hunger Bowl (2013)|
|Miami Beach Bowl (2014)|
|Las Vegas Bowl (2015)|
|Former Prominent Players Coached
|Alani Fua (BYU)|
|Kyle Van Noy (BYU)|
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Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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