Mesa coach dies at home

Mesa coach dies at home

Former head football coach Mott Kofler.

Kenny Kinder

Mesa College head football coach Matt Kofler died on Dec. 19 from an undisclosed illness while at home in El Cajon. He was 49.

On Aug. 30, 1959, he was born to Darlene Kofler in Kelso, Wash. The family moved to San Diego in 1973 where Koflerfor the remainder of his life.

Kofler graduated from Patrick Henry High School in 1978. Shortly after graduation he went on to become a first team All-American quarterback for Mesa College. He led all community colleges in the nation in total offense and was named California Player of the Year.

In 1980, he transferred to SDSU on a football scholarship to continue his career. His success continued and Kofler went on to play in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts from 1982-1985.

Kofler returned to Mesa in 1998 as a professor and offensive coordinator of the football team. He also served as Director of Recruitment. In 2006, Kofler was named head coach of the football team. He was in his third year at the time of his death.

Coach Kofler’s illness forced him to miss the final six games of the season. During this stretch, the Olympians made a push for the playoffs earning themselves a final ranking as the number 13 team in Southern California.

“He worked very hard in recruiting the past several years and got the Olympians to the playoffs this year,” said Athletic Director Dave Evans.

With Kofler gone, his legacy still remains with Mesa. His commitment and contributions will be remembered by the people whose lives he affected for some time.

“He was very committed to his student-athletes and worked hard to give them an opportunity to excel in the classroom and on the field,” said Evans. “[His]strongest asset was connecting and relating to student-athletes. He stressed academics as well as athletics and I’ve always appreciated that from Coach Kofler. I will miss watching him assist our student-athletes on and off the field.”

Former defensive coordinator Henry Browne will succeed Kofler as head football coach for Mesa. Browne, a close friend of Kofler, has served as the defensive coordinator since 1994.

“Kofler was a very straight-forward person and coach,” said Browne. “I think the players were appreciative of the fact that he was straight and honest with them. Even if they didn’t necessarily like where they were on the depth chart, they knew that he was doing what was best for the team.”

The camaraderie and friendship will be missed the most,” added Browne. “We have a very family-type atmosphere within the football team and coaching staff. He will be missed like you would miss a brother.”

Kofler was one of four siblings. He had two sisters and a brother. He is survived by his son Andrew Kofler, mother Darlene Kofler, sisters Terese Ann Ohrberg and Michelle Lea McGinnis, and brother Christopher John Kofler.

A memorial service was held for Kofler on Feb. 22 in the Mesa College gymnasium.

Tax-deductible contributions are being accepted to establish a scholarship in Matt Kofler’s name for Mesa student-athletes.