Joe Palcic is in his sixth season as the Hoosiers' co-defensive coordinator and his second year as secondary coach. He shares defensive coordinator duties with defensive tackles coach Brian George. Palcic served as the team's cornerbacks coach from 2005-08.
Five Hoosier defenders were either drafted or signed free-agent deals following the 2009 campaign. Defensive end Jammie Kirlew (Denver) and cornerback Ray Fisher (Indianapolis) were drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft, while linebackers Matt Mayberry (Chicago) and Will Patterson (Houston) joined safety Nick Polk (Houston) in signing free-agent contracts.
With Fisher heading to Indianapolis, five of the last six cornerbacks who have started for Palcic and exhausted their eligibility (Tracy Porter, Leslie Majors, Alphonso Hodge and Darrell Hunter) have all moved on to the NFL.
Kirlew received second team All-Big Ten honors in 2009, while senior defensive end Greg Middleton, Fisher and Mayberry received honorable mention recognition.
The Hoosier defense finished second in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in turnover margin (plus-7), shared second in the league and 21st nationally with 13 fumble recoveries and fourth in the conference and tied for 23rd nationally with 16 interceptions last season.
Indiana's defense was ravaged by injury in 2008, with six starters missing a combined 27 games. Cornerback Christopher Phillips (nine games) and safeties Austin Thomas (seven) and Polk (five) suffered season-ending injuries.
Despite the injuries, the Hoosiers still finished fifth in the league with 31 sacks, the fourth-highest total in school history, and sixth in the league in turnover margin (plus-1).
Kirlew was one of six finalists for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award and was voted first team All-Big Ten by the conference media and second team by the league's coaches. He finished 2008 with 10.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss, both ranked fourth on Indiana's single-season list.
The team set a new school record for sacks (42) and also posted a conference-leading 19 interceptions and 31 takeaways in 2007. Porter set a new personal mark with six picks on the year, as he was named first team All-Big Ten by the conference media and second team All-Big Ten by the conference coaches. He finished his career second on the school's all-time list with 16 INTs. Phillips (three) and Majors (two) each had career highs in interceptions.
Both of Palcic's starting cornerbacks reached the NFL ranks. Porter was selected in the second round (40th pick) in the 2008 NFL Draft by New Orleans, where he sealed the Saints 2010 Super Bowl Championship with a 74-yard interception touchdown return. Majors signed a free-agent deal with the Chicago Bears.
Palcic's 2006 defense showed significant improvement, led by Porter, who earned second team All-Big Ten honors after posting four interceptions and eight passes broken up. Porter and safety Will Meyers helped the Hoosiers collect 13 interceptions on the season, the fifth-highest total in the Big Ten.
Four starters from Indiana's 2005 defensive unit - linebackers Kyle Killion (Indianapolis Colts free agent) and John Pannozzo (Atlanta Falcons free agent) and defensive ends Ben Ishola (Miami Dolphins free agent) and Victor Adeyanju (St. Louis Rams fourth-round draft pick) - participated in NFL training camps in 2006. Adeyanju is currently with the Rams.
Prior to coming to Indiana, Palcic and George also served as co-defensive coordinators at Miami (Ohio) University. The duo spearheaded a defensive effort that saw the RedHawks hold 13 of their last 26 opponents under 100 yards rushing, including seven under 50 yards. In regular-season conference play, Miami held opponents to 77.5 yards rushing per game, including a season-low nine yards rushing against Ohio.
A former Miami linebacker, Palcic coached the RedHawk linebackers in his first season as a full-time assistant (1999), which was highlighted by Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year Dustin Cohen. After Palcic switched to defensive backs coach in 2001, safety Matt Pusateri was named third team Freshman All-America by Sporting News that season and led Miami in tackles his last two years. In a big-play defense that forced 33 turnovers in 2004, 10 came via interception by the secondary. He also mentored Hodge, who was invited to play in the 2005 Senior Bowl and played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Hunter, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Palcic played three years for Miami's linebacking corps, and upon receiving his degree in sociology from Miami in 1998, Palcic served as a graduate assistant at Eastern Michigan University for one season, where he worked with the offensive line.
The Palcic name is well-known in the football coaching ranks as Palcic's father, Bob, has served as an assistant coach with Arizona, Ball State, Ohio State, USC, Wisconsin, the Atlanta Falcons, the Detroit Lions, the Cleveland Browns, the New Orleans Saints and is currently the offensive line coach at UCLA. Palcic's brother-in-law is Cleveland Browns linebacker Mark Simoneau.
Joe and his wife, Courtney, have one son, Nicholas (3), and one daughter, Gabrielle (1).