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Illinois misses out on Kuligowski for co-defensive coordinator

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Illinois misses out on Kuligowski for co-defensive coordinator

Illinois’ head coach Tim Beckman speaks to a team trainer during the game against Iowa at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 15. The Illini lost 30-14.

Illinois’ head coach Tim Beckman speaks to a team trainer during the game against Iowa at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 15. The Illini lost 30-14.

Illinois’ head coach Tim Beckman speaks to a team trainer during the game against Iowa at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 15. The Illini lost 30-14.

Illinois’ head coach Tim Beckman speaks to a team trainer during the game against Iowa at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 15. The Illini lost 30-14.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

It had been reported Sunday night that Missouri defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski was considering an offer to join Tim Beckman’s Illinois staff as a co-defensive coordinator. 

Kuligowski announced Monday afternoon that he was staying at Missouri, where he has been the defensive line coach since 2001. 

Footballscoop.com originally reported Kuligowski had taken the Illinois offer late Sunday.

Kuligowski has spent the past 23 seasons working under Tigers’ head coach Gary Pinkel, both while Pinkel was the head man at Toledo from 1992-2000 and at Missouri since 2001. Kuligowski spent 19 of those 23 seasons as defensive line coach.

“As a coach, you’re always looking to advance yourself professionally in hopes of someday having a chance to become a head coach,” Kuligowski said in a press release from Missouri’s athletic department. “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.”

Illinois fired defensive line coach Greg Colby and special teams coordinator Tim Salem on Jan. 8. Kuligowski could have filled Colby’s role as well as shared duties with Banks in overseeing the defensive side of the ball. Illinois posted a job opening for co-defensive

coordinator on Jan. 13. 

Kuligowski would have been a huge addition to Beckman’s staff. His defensive lines at Missouri have produced NFL draft picks Sheldon Richardson, Ziggy Hood, Aldon Smith, Kony Ealy and Michael Sam. It’s also likely Shane Ray and Markus Golden will be selected in the 2015 NFL draft. 

“We’ve built something special here at Mizzou, and I’m excited to continue to be part of it,” Kuligowski said.

The Illini couldn’t stop Big Ten running backs once they reached conference play. 

Illinois was last in the Big Ten in total defense and rushing defense. Looking only at conference games, Illinois was last in stopping the rush by a wide margin — 44 yards per game more than Rutgers, the next closest team.

Illinois allowed 10 different running backs to rush for 100 yards or more in 13 total games. 

Kuligowski played at Toledo from 1987-90 as an offensive lineman. While coaching at Toledo in the late 1990s, he coached against Beckman while Beckman was an assistant at Bowling Green.

Joining Beckman and Illinois might have been risky considering Beckman is only on contract through next season and the 2015 season is something of a do-or-die situation for the current coaching staff. 

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