Monica, who served as head football coach at NCAA Division II member Kutztown University (Pa.) for the past seven seasons, succeeds Steve Mullins as head coach at Arkansas Tech.
Mullins won a school-record 96 games and led the Wonder Boys to three NCAA Division II Playoffs berths during his 16-season tenure from 1997-2012. He resigned as head football coach on Nov. 15 and remained at Arkansas Tech as its director of athletics.
Monica was a unanimous choice by the selection committee to become the new head coach of the Wonder Boys.
"I attended football camp at Arkansas Tech 29 years ago," said Monica. "I have always kept up with the program and watched it achieve great success over the years. It is exciting for me and my family to come back to an area we are familiar with. Arkansas Tech is a perfect fit for us."
Monica guided the Kutztown University football program to unprecedented success while accumulating an overall record of 45-34 from 2006-2012.
During Monica's tenure as head coach, the Golden Bears made their first NCAA Division II Playoffs appearance (2010), won their first Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference championship (2011) and earned their first postseason win (2011).
In addition, Kutztown achieved its highest national ranking ever (No. 6 in 2011) and established a new record for most wins in a single season in the 97-year history of the program (11 in 2011) under Monica's leadership.
Monica was named PSAC and NCAA Division II Super Region 1 coach of the year in 2010 and 2011.
"I feel like we will be an exciting football team to watch," said Monica, who was selected from among 152 applicants to become the 16th head football coach in Arkansas Tech history. "Game day is an event at Arkansas Tech, and we want to maintain that atmosphere. We will work to improve each and every day, and we will identify young men who buy in to what we are trying to accomplish."
Monica is a native of Garyville, La. He graduated from East St. John's High School in Reserve, La., and began his college career at Nicholls State University (La.).
After one football season with the Colonels, Monica transferred to Northeast Mississippi Junior College and was a two-time all-state selection at quarterback.
Monica began his coaching career as a student assistant at Northeast Mississippi Junior College in 1988.
The course of Monica's career was set in 1989 when he enrolled at the University of North Alabama and joined the football staff as a student assistant coach overseeing the running backs.
Monica earned his Bachelor of Science degree in health, physical education and recreation from North Alabama in 1990. He was hired as a full-time assistant football coach at North Alabama following his graduation.
While on staff at his alma mater, Monica was a part of one of the most storied dynasties in NCAA Division II football history.
North Alabama won consecutive NCAA Division II national championships in 1993, 1994 and 1995 under the direction of head coach Bobby Wallace. UNA was 41-1 during those three championship seasons. Monica served as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the Lions.
In December 1997, Monica moved with Wallace to NCAA Division I member Temple University. Monica served as the Owls' defensive coordinator for eight seasons, and from 1999-2005 he carried the title and responsibilities of assistant head coach.
Monica was hailed by Sports Illustrated in 2003 as one of college football's seven "Wise Guides."
The article described him as "the best in the nation at getting ordinary players to do extraordinary things." Perhaps the most extraordinary accomplishment of Monica's coaching career thus far came in 2011 when he helped Kutztown end a 60-year wait for its first PSAC championship in football.
The 2011 Golden Bears finished with an overall record of 11-2 and 6-1 mark in PSAC play. They established new school records for wins, points (487), touchdowns (68), interceptions (25) and quarterback sacks (35).
Kutztown won its final four games of the 2012 season to finish 7-4 overall. "On behalf of Arkansas Tech University and President Dr. Robert C. Brown, I would like to commend the work performed by our selection committee," said Mullins. "Coach Monica has a track record of outstanding success at the NCAA Division II level and all of the qualities necessary to lead the student-athletes in our football program. I am proud to welcome Coach Monica, his wife and their three children into the Tech Family." Monica and his wife, Linda, are parents of Ray (17), Lindsey (14) and Austin (6).
Members of the selection committee for the head football coach position at Arkansas Tech included Kristy Bayer, head volleyball coach and assistant athletic director; Dr. Tom DeBlack, professor of history and faculty athletic representative; Thomas Pennington, associate vice president, counsel to the president and assistant professor of legal studies; Josh Price, Arkansas Tech football alumnus; John Whiteside, Arkansas Tech football alumnus; and Mullins. Arkansas Tech will play its 99th season of intercollegiate football in 2013. The Wonder Boys have an all-time record of 531-351-41 (.598), and Tech is one of 10 NCAA Division II football programs with 530 or more all-time wins.
The Wonder Boys became the first football program in Arkansas to earn three NCAA Division II Playoffs berths (1999, 2004 and 2009), to host an NCAA Division II Playoffs game (2004) and to win an NCAA Division II Playoffs game (2004).
Arkansas Tech was 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the Great American Conference during the 2012 season.
Samuel Strasner: Media Relations