Former National Football League linebacker Canute Curtis, in his second stint as a member of the Tiger coaching career at Towson, returned to the Tigers' program in 2009.
He is starting his third season as the Tigers' Defensive Line Coach this season.
A native of Amityville, N.Y., Coach Curtis is a veteran of seven seasons of college coaching.
"Canute Curtis continues to get the best out of our players on the defensive line," says Coach Rob Ambrose. "He is an historic player in the annals of West Virginia University football and he's a former NFL player. Canute has been very successful coaching on the defensive side of the ball and has experience with special teams. He brings a level of intensity and toughness that will be needed in our efforts to improve our defense."
In June, Coach Curtis received a very prestigious honor from West Virginia University. It was announced that he will be inducted into the WVU Athletic Hall of Fame in October.
In 2004, Curtis started his coaching career as the Tigers' Linebackers Coach. Joining Coach Gordy Combs' staff, he was part of the Tigers' first season as a member of the Atlantic 10 Football Conference. As the Linebackers Coach, he worked with a pair of talented freshman linebackers, Brian Bradford and John Webb.
Bradford and Webb went on to enjoy outstanding careers at Towson. As a senior, Bradford was a consensus All-American who finished second in the nation in tackles. Bradford finished his career with 328 tackles, fourth on Towson's all-time list. An All-CAA selection, Webb was a four-year starter who made 308 tackles in his career, fifth on the career list.
After one season at Towson, he left to join James Webster's coaching staff at Tennessee State University. During his three-year stint at TSU, he served as the Tigers' Defensive Line Coach as well as their Special Teams Coach. Tennessee State was 11-11 in his final two seasons at the Ohio Valley Conference school.
In 2008, Coach Curtis spent one season as the Defensive Line Coach at Hampton University. At Hampton, he was a member of Coach Jerry Holmes' staff. When Curtis was a linebacker at WVU, Holmes was his position coach.
Since becoming the Tigers' defensive line coach, he has been instrumental in the development of several important linemen. Last season, he coached a pair of All-Colonial Athletic Association selections, Yaky Ibia and Frank Beltre.
Ibia was named second team All-CAA in 2010. Only a sophomore, Beltre was honored as a third team All-CAA pick. Both Ibia and Beltre ranked among the CAA leaders in tackles.
A 1997 graduate of West Virginia University, Curtis was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the NFL draft. In six years as a member of the Bengals, he appeared in 70 games and started at linebacker in 15 contests.
In the 2001 season, he appeared in all 16 games and started four times. He made 28 tackles for the Bengals.
The 2002 season was his final NFL season and it may have been his best campaign. He played in all 16 games for Coach Dick LeBeau and started at outside linebacker 11 times. He finished ninth on the team with 51 tackles.
A special teams standout for the Bengals throughout his career, he helped the Bengals to a 26-23 win over Pittsburgh in 2001 when he made a career high nine tackles. He also had eight tackles in a 38-27 loss at Baltimore in 2002. He retired after the end of the 2002 season.
In his career with the Bengals, he made 101 tackles with three quarterback sacks.
A consensus All-American linebacker at West Virginia, Curtis was the Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. During his career with the Mountaineers, he shattered the school record by making 34.5 sacks. The previous record was 22 sacks.
As a senior, he ranked second in the nation with 16.5 sacks for 121 yards. A finalist for the Dick Butkus and Bronko Nagurski Awards, he made 67 tackles in 1996 while leading the Mountaineers to an 8-4 record.
A three-year starter at linebacker for Coach Don Nehlen, Curtis made 192 tackles and recovered five fumbles in his career. In four years, he helped West Virginia to a 31-17 record and three bowl game appearances. In his career, he made 35 consecutive starts.
As a freshman, he was a member of a team which won its first 11 games before finishing with an 11-1 record after a loss to Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The Mountaineers also faced South Carolina in the Carquest Bowl when Curtis was a sophomore to cap off a 7-6 season. After his senior season, West Virginia faced North Carolina in the Gator Bowl to complete an 8-4 campaign.
An unanimous selection to the All-BIG EAST first team as a senior, he earned second team All-BIG EAST honors as a junior. In 1996, he was named as the Big East Defensive Player of the Week three times when he set a Big East record with 16.5 sacks. His mark of 16.5 sacks currently ranks fourth in Big East history. He also ranks fourth on the Big East list of career leader in sacks.
A graduate of Farmingdale High School in New York, Curtis was an All-State linebacker for Coach Don Snyder. He also earned All-Long Island notice as a running back and linebacker.
Coach Curtis and his wife, LaToya, are the parents of two young children.