After first flirting with the Bucs about their NFL defensive line opening over the weekend, Miami Hurricanes defensive line/assistant head coach Craig Kuligowski instead will end up with Nick Saban at Alabama.
Kuligowski has been in Coral Gables for the last two seasons, since Mark Richt became the Miami head coach. This past season he was given the assistant head coach title, and the Canes defense helped the tremendous turnaround to an unbeaten 10-0 start and #3 ranking in the College Football Playoff in late November.
A report surfaced Monday afternoon that Kuligowski had been talking to the Buccaneers about their defensive line opening:
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) February 19, 2018
The Bucs announced Monday evening that they had instead hired former Arizona Cardinals defensive line coach Brentson Buckner to take the position for Dirk Koetter’s stafff in 2018.
Meanwhile, a short time later, college football insider Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports, reported first that Kuligowki would join the Crimson Tide instead:
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 20, 2018
One of the reasons Kuligowski has been in such demand the last few seasons is his successful run with the Missouri Tigers and their defensive lines. He coached former SEC Sacks leader Michael Sam, who later won the league’s defensive player of the year in 2013. He also has coached former first round picks from Missouri, Shane Ray, Aldon Smith and Charles Harris (Dolphins last year).
The biggest connection to Bama is Kuligowkski’s previous relationship with Saban. He actually played as a defensive lineman for Toledo in the late 1980’s. That’s when Saban was the head coach for one season with the Rockets in 1990.
Obviously, Alabama has been an “NFL Draft pick factory” themselves, especially on defense during Saban’s 11 year tenure.
Meanwhile, for the Hurricanes, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz now has to find a replacement for Kuligowksi, but again with the Canes recent success, there will be no shortage of quality candidates.
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