College Miami Hurricanes

Defensive Line Coach Craig Kuligowski Leaving University of Miami

The University of Miami just got a lot less “Kool”.

Miami lost one of its top assistant coaches Monday as the school announced that assistant head coach/defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski has left the program to pursue other opportunities.

Kuligowski coached two seasons in Coral Gables after spending the previous 15 years as the defensive line coach at the University of Missouri.

Reports surfaced Monday evening that “Coach Kool” had interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their open defensive line coach job.

Another report began to gain steam via social media shortly after the school’s official announcement – saying that Kuligowski was leaving the Hurricanes to join another powerful college program.

Whether Kuligowski is bound for the NFL or for Tuscaloosa, his time in Coral Gables is over.

Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt knew what he had in Kuligowski, which was why he gave him the title of “assistant head coach” and the end of the 2016 season. But the new title – and the likely raise that came along with it – wasn’t enough to keep the poachers away from the in-demand coach.

Losing “Coach Kool” is a huge blow to Miami’s coaching staff.

Kuligowski’s impact on Miami’s defensive line was tangible since he joined the staff. Working in line with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s new defensive scheme, Miami defensive linemen accounted for 53.5 of the team’s 82 sacks over the past two seasons.

Coach Kool’s methods and philosophies led to a substantial elevation in gameplay from the Hurricanes defensive ends and defensive tackles. Sophomore defensive end Joe Jackson racked up 15 sacks in his two years under Kuligowski, including a team-high 8.5 during his freshman season.

Kuligowski’s resume is impressive – which is why it was such a big “get” for Miami to hire him in the first place. During his tenure at the University of Missouri, Kuligowski coached 24 players to all-conference honors; four NFL first-round draft picks (Ziggy Hood, Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson and Shane Ray) and a pair of SEC defensive players of the year in Michael Sam (2013) and Ray (2014).

J.T. Wilcox
J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" blog and "The Baldcast" podcast.

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