Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
After being tempted to don orange and blue, Craig Kuligowski will remain in black and gold.
Illinois was considering Kuligowski for a co-defensive coordinator position, but “Coach Kool” announced Monday he will remain Missouri’s defensive line coach, the position he has held for 14 seasons.
“As a coach, you’re always looking to advance yourself professionally in hopes of someday having a chance to become a head coach,” he said in a press release announcing he had withdrawn his name for consideration at Illinois. “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.”
Kuligowski has coached under Gary Pinkel for 23 years, from 1992-2000 at Toledo and from 2001 to the present at Missouri. He was named the 2014 defensive line coach of the year by FootballScoop.com.
Last season, the Tigers replaced two NFL draft picks at defensive end — Kony Ealy and Michael Sam — with Shane Ray and Markus Golden, who will both likely be selected in this spring’s draft after a record-setting season. Sam and Ray were named Southeastern Conference defensive players of the year and consensus All-Americans in their final seasons at Missouri. Ealy was named first-team AP All-SEC, and Golden earned second-team coaches All-SEC.
Nine Missouri defensive linemen coached by Kuligowski have been drafted into the NFL.
Kuligowski’s departure would have been the third of the offseason — all on defense — for the typically constant Missouri coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Dave Steckel left to take the head-coaching job at Missouri State, and safeties coach Alex Grinch is the new defensive coordinator at Washington State.
Kuligowski was considered the lead in-house candidate to replace Steckel, but Memphis defensive coordinator Barry Odom, a former Missouri coach and player, was selected for the position.