Missouri Tigers: Craig Kuligowski Will Return As Defensive Line Coach


Missouri Tigers football is often referred to as “D-Line U”, and that wouldn’t be the case if not for long time defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski.

Kuligowski, who is regarded as one of the top defensive line coaches in the country, was rumored to be considering taking a position at the University of Illinois at the c0-defensive coordinator after getting passed over for the defensive coordinator job this offseason at Mizzou in favor of Barry Odom.

Fortunately though, it appears that head coach Gary Pinkel has convinced him to stay, and Kuligowski released a statement explaining why he chose to remain put.

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  • "“As a coach, you’re always looking to advance yourself professionally in hopes of someday having a chance to become a head coach. It was important for me and my family to consider this opportunity, and I’m grateful to have gone through the experience, but after evaluating everything, what is best for us is to stay here at Mizzou. We’ve built something special here at Mizzou, and I’m excited to continue to be part of it.”"

    One reason Kuligowski might have chosen to stay was that he believed he still has a chance to advance in Missouri’s coaching ladder. It’s no secret that Gary Pinkel is getting close to the end of the road. While Odom may be in line for the head coaching gig, Kuligowski may think he is in line to replace Odom as defensive coordinator.

    Another reason might be the most likely one: money. Whenever a coach wants a raise, it’s often effective to scare your current employer into giving you some extra cash by threatening to skip town.

    One final reason Kuligowski might have chosen to stay is due to the legacy he has created at Mizzou. Like I mentioned earlier, he has turned Missouri into “D-Line U”. He’s coached players like Michael Sam, Kony Ealy, Markus Golden, Shane Ray, Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson and Ziggy Hood into stars. He’ll have the same opportunity with #2 ESPN 2015 recruit Terry Beckner Jr., who has Mizzou listed as his top school currently.

    It’s a great time to be a Missouri Tiger, especially if you are a fan of defense, sacks, and first round picks in the pros.

    Kuligowski’s statement courtesy of Tod Palmer’s article from the Kansas City Star.

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