40-Year Coaching Veteran, Former Minnesota Head Coach To Work With ECU Pirate Special Teams


GREENVILLE, N.C. – John Gutekunst (pronounced GOOD-uh-kunst) has joined the East Carolina University football staff as an assistant coach according to an announcement by Pirate head coach Skip Holtz Monday.

A veteran coach with over 40 years of experience who also guided the Minnesota program for six seasons, Gutekunst will fill in for Rock Roggeman, who left ECU Sept. 28 on indefinite medical leave.

Gutekunst, who will assist the Pirates with their special teams play, most recently served on the Duke staff as a secondary coach in 2007 after previous collegiate positions at North Carolina (2004-06), South Carolina (1999-03), Rhode Island (1998), Rutgers (1994-95), South Carolina (1993), Wake Forest (1992), Minnesota (1984-91), Virginia Tech (1979-83) and Duke (1967-78).

Before re-joining the Blue Devil staff for his second stint in Durham, Gutekunst served three seasons at North Carolina, coaching the linebackers as a co-defensive coordinator in 2004 before switching to the tight ends for his final two years. He added the responsibilities of assistant head coach in 2006.

Prior to his stint at North Carolina, Gutekunst spent five seasons coaching the defensive secondary at South Carolina. In 2001, South Carolina’s defense ranked second in the SEC as two defensive backs — Sheldon Brown and Andre Goodman — received all-league honors and were later selected in the 2002 NFL Draft. Gutekunst also coached All-SEC cornerback Dunta Robinson, who was chosen with the 10th overall selection by Houston in the 2004 NFL Draft. In 2000, the Gamecocks posted 20 interceptions while allowing a league-low five touchdown passes. Brown was named to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America team while Gutekunst earned Assistant Coach of the Year accolades from the same organization.

Gutekunst, 65, spent one year at Rhode Island coaching the defensive backs and kickers and two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Rutgers. Prior to joining the Scarlet Knight staff, he did one-year stints at South Carolina and Wake Forest. Gutekunst also spent one season coaching the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.

During the 1984-85 seasons, Gutekunst served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach under Lou Holtz at Minnesota before beginning a six-year tenure as the head coach of the Gophers. He also was the Gophers’ head coach in a 20-13 triumph over Clemson in the 1985 Independence Bowl. In 1986, he led Minnesota to the Liberty Bowl in a season that was highlighted by a 20-17 upset victory over then second-ranked and previously unbeaten Michigan.

Prior to his time at Minnesota, Gutekunst was on the staff at Virginia Tech where he helped the Hokies to a five-year ledger of 36-20 from 1979-83. He joined the coaching profession following graduation and served on the Duke staff from 1967-78.

At Duke, Gutekunst lettered on the gridiron from 1963-65 under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Murray and served as team captain as a senior. He also earned three varsity letters on the baseball diamond from 1964-66.

Holtz also announced that Vernon Hargreaves will now coach the entire defensive line after serving as the Pirates’ defensive ends coach since 2007.


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