FootballScoop is proud to announce that Craig Kuligowski (Missouri) is the 2014 FootballScoop Defensive Line Coach of the Year presented by ProGrass.
In 2013, Missouri placed defensive ends two defensive ends on the All-SEC first team - with one end earning consensus All-America status. In 2014, Missouri again placed two defensive ends on All-SEC teams, one on the first team and another on the second team - again with one end earning consensus All-America status. While plenty of teams can earn four separate all-conference and two All-America nods in a span of two years, only Craig Kuligowski can create the best defensive end tandem in college football, watch both players graduate, and then have their replacements jump in and again be the best defensive end tandem in college football.
In 2013, Missouri rode a strong pass rush (41 sacks, fourth nationally) to a surprising SEC East championship, and Kuligowski - who on Twitter goes by the highly-appropriate handle @LetsMeetAtTheQB - again engineered an SEC-best pass rush (40 sacks, sixth nationally) to make another surprise run at the SEC East title.
Playing in the most competitive conference in college football, Missouri has recorded a total of 81 sacks over the past two seasons while no one else in the conference has more than 57.
Individually, Shane Ray earned First Team All-SEC and consensus All-America honors by notching 12.5 sacks (first in the SEC, fifth nationally) and 21 tackles for loss (first, third) to go with 61 tackles, while Markus Golden added 8.5 sacks (fifth, 26th), 16 tackles for loss (third, 19th) and 68 tackles to collect a Second Team All-SEC nod. Defensive tackle Harold Brantley contributed five sacks, seven TFL and 50 tackles, and co-starters Matt Hoch and Lucas Vincent combined to produce 6.5 sacks, 17 TFL and 71 tackles.
As a group, Missouri ranked 11th nationally - again leading the SEC - with 95 tackles for loss while allowing just 3.53 yards per carry. And in keeping with their disruptive nature, the Tigers ranked second in the country in forced fumbles (18).
The Tigers, who who six in a row to close the year and clinch back-to-back division championships, ranked 26th nationally in scoring defense (21.4 points per game allowed), 14th in yards per play allowed (4.76) and placed among the top 40 in rushing defense and pass efficiency defense.
"Craig is the best defensive line coach in the country," said Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel. "He doesn't need a quote, his record speaks for itself. He consistently develops our players into NFL-level talent year after year."
Kuligowski has coached under Gary Pinkel for the past 23 years, and the last 19 coaching the defensive line. A four-year standout at offensive tackle, he graduated from Toledo in 1991 and immediately went to work for Pinkel, first as recruiting coordinator, then as tight ends coach, and then as tight ends/assistant offensive line coach before moving to defensive line in 1996. In his 19 years coaching defensive line Kuligowski has produced 21 all-conference players.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Ilaisa Tuliaki [Utah], Ikaika Malloe [Utah State], Dan Brooks and Marlon Hobby [Clemson], Sean Spencer [Penn State] and Kuligowski) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Kuligowski will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.
Previous winners of the Defensive Line Coach of the Year award are Dick Bumpas (TCU, 2008), Jim Panagos (Central Florida, 2009), Bill Kirelawich (West Virginia, 2010), Brick Haley (LSU, 2011), Randy Hart (Stanford, 2012) and Ron Burton (Michigan State, 2013).
6th Nationally - Sacks
81 sacks last two yrs - Most in SEC
11th Nationally - Tackles for Loss
Two All-SEC defensive ends in 2013-14
2nd Nationally - Fumbles Forced
14th Nationally - Yards Per Play Allowed
ProGrass LLC, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has emerged as one of the preeminent names in the synthetic turf industry. ProGrass installations can be located from Connecticut to California. The ProGrass product has been received as "One of the Best Products on the Market" by many customers who have spent years evaluating this industry. The reason is simple: we know the industry and have developed the TEAM, the products and processes that exceed the expectations of our demanding and knowledgeable customers. We don’t just sell turf, we know turf! For more information please visit: ProGrassTurf.com
Created in 1999, FootballScoop.com is the premier source for coaching job information and has evolved into the most widely viewed website by coaches, athletic directors, strength & conditioning coaches, operations and equipment staff across America. As the leading coaching job information venue, FootballScoop.com serves our viewers’ needs by providing 1st hand, timely & accurate information for our audience. FootballScoop.com is the premier provider of official job postings.