COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University Department of Athletics was saddened to learn of the passing this weekend of Mike Kudla, who was a standout defensive lineman for the Buckeyes from 2002 through 2005.
According to a release from the Highland Local Schools, where Kudla attended Highland High School and was the 2001 Associated Press co-defensive player of the year, he died unexpectedly on Sunday, July 15. He was 34.
Kudla was a member of Ohio State’s 2002 national championship team and earned first team All-Big Ten Conference and team defensive Most Valuable Player honors as a senior in 2005. In his final collegiate game, Kudla set a Fiesta Bowl record with three quarterback sacks to help the Buckeyes defeat Notre Dame, 34-20. That season, Kudla had 41 tackles, 11.5 tackles-for-loss and a team-high 9.5 sacks.
Career stats at Ohio State for the Medina, Ohio, native included 91 total tackles and 14.5 sacks.
Kudla was signed as a free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006 and eventually returned to Ohio State in 2012 as the Director of Development at the Fisher College of Business. Later, he owned Core Plex, where he developed and built medical facilities.
Just last year, Columbus Business First named Kudla to its 40 Under 40 list for his work with Hplex Solutions Inc., a healthcare development company. He was the chief operating officer and senior vice president.