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Miami Hurricanes promote DL coach Craig Kuligowski to Assistant Head Coach

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A small move that could pay big dividends for the Hurricanes

A worthy honor for DL Coach Kuligowski, who has been promoted to Assistant Head Coach for the Hurricanes

On Friday afternoon, the Miami Hurricanes announced that DL Coach Craig Kuligowski had been promoted to Assistant Head Coach.

The move will likely carry a raise in pay for Kuligowski, though that was not announced in the release on the move.

Widely regarded to be one of if not the best DL coaches in football, Kuligowski was reportedly being pursued by several NFL teams this offseason. Miami’s move to promote the 49-year old Kuligowski is a shrewd one, and the kind of thing that proves that the talk of Miami giving Mark Richt more money to build his assistant coaching staff has substance.

After just 1 season at Miami, Kuligowski has proven his worth. Players like Chad Thomas, RJ McIntosh and Joseph Jackson took giants leaps forward, and the group as a whole was a strength for Miami. The Hurricanes’ Defensive Line had their most productive season in recent years, ending 2016 5th in tackles for loss and 22nd in sacks as part of a defense that finished 20th in total defense. Advanced stats also loved the Canes’ DL, as Football Outsiders’ DL ratings had the group 9th overall in 2016, a vast improvement from their 2015 ranking of 102nd.

Additionally, Kuligowski recruited an outstanding trio of players in the 2017 class for Miami, getting 4-star DEs DJ Johnson (Sacramento, CA) and Jonathan Garvin (Lake Worth, FL) and 3-star DT Jonathan Ford (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) to sign with the Canes.

Kuligowski’s track record of success speaks for itself. In 15 years at Missouri, Coach Kool has coached numerous NFL players, including 13 NFL draft picks and 5 1st round picks: DE Justin Smith (4th overall in 2001), DT Ziggy Hood (32nd in 2009), DE Aldon Smith (13th in 2011), DT Sheldon Richardson (13th in 2013), and DE Shane Ray (23rd in 2015). On top of that, Kuligowski-coached players have been named to numerous All-Conference and All-American teams throughout his career.

This is a power move by Miami, and just the kind of thing the Canes should be doing to keep the best coaches in America in Coral Gables. You can read the full release on Kuligowski’s promotion below, courtesy of UM Athletics.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – University of Miami head coach Mark Richt announced Friday that Craig Kuligowski has been promoted to Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line.

Kuligowski, who joined the Hurricanes’ staff last season after 15 years at the University of Missouri, will continue to coach Miami’s defensive line.

“Craig did an outstanding job last season working with our defensive line,” Richt said. “He’s a terrific motivator and a great teacher.”

Miami’s defensive line showed vast improvement under Kuligowski’s guidance in 2016. The Hurricanes ranked 20th nationally in total defense, fifth in tackles for loss and 22nd in sacks. In addition, Kuligowski’s defensive line scheme helped limit opponents to just 4.75 yards per play, a figure which ranked ninth in the nation. Miami ranked 86th in the country in yards per play allowed in 2015.

Joe Jackson ranked second among true freshmen nationwide with 8.5 sacks, while sophomore Kendrick Norton registered 10 tackles for loss and earned third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors.

Kuligowski is entering his 26th year of coaching. He played offensive tackle at Toledo, where he earned his bachelor’s of business administration degree. He and his wife, Mary, have three children.