Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Former Missouri defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski was announced as the new D-line coach at Miami on Wednesday. Kuligowki had coached at Missouri since 2001 and under former Tigers coach Gary Pinkel for 24 seasons.
“I could not be happier to add each of these individuals to our coaching staff,” new Miami coach Mark Richt said in a release. Thomas Brown (co-offensive coordinator/running backs), Todd Hartley (special teams coordinator) and Jon Richt (offensive assistant) were also announced as Miami assistants. “Not only are they great coaches, but they are great people, who instill the values that our young people will need to be successful in the classroom, in the community and on the field.”
Kuligowski built a reputation for Missouri as one of the strongest producers of defensive-line talent in the country. He coached 12 NFL draftees, including four first-round picks and two second-rounders. Twenty-three Missouri defensive linemen earned all-conference honors of some sort under Kuligowski, including 10 first-teamers and three All-Americans.
During his time at Missouri, Kuligowski’s defensive line inspired the “D-Line Zou” brand. In his last season with the Tigers, Kuligowski’s young defensive line surpassed many expectations by remaining a strength on the defense despite a handful of key absences. The Tigers ranked second in the nation in team tackles for loss and ninth in total defense.
Kuligowski had been the longest-tenured position coach in the Southeastern Conference, though all but his last three seasons at Missouri were actually spent in the Big 12.
Pinkel resigned at the end of last season due to health concerns, leading to a shakeup on the staff. New hire Barry Odom added DeMontie Cross as a defensive coordinator and Chris Wilson as defensive line coach.
Kuligowki turned down a chance to become a defensive coordinator at Illinois before the 2015 season, and many assumed if he were to stay at Missouri after Pinkel’s departure it would be as the defensive coordinator.
Richt was fired as Georgia’s head coach in November and hired to fill the same position at Miami, his alma mater, less than a week later.