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Zips choose defensive coordinator with experience

By mrasor Published: February 17, 2011


You can't find a guy with much more experience than Kevin Cosgrove, who will replace Curt Mallory as Akron's new defensive coordinator.

Cosgrove has held the defensive coordinator position at Nebraska, Wisconsin and, most recently, Minnesota. Here is the press release from

AKRON, OhioKevin Cosgrove was named The University of Akron football program's new defensive coordinator on Thursday, second-year head coach Rob Ianello announced. Cosgrove has 30 years of experience in the collegiate coaching ranks, 15 of which have been as a defensive coordinator. He has coached in 16 bowl games, including four appearances in the Rose Bowl."I'm excited to announce Kevin Cosgrove as our new defensive coordinator," Ianello said. "He has a proven track record of developing outstanding defenses and is an experienced recruiter. His wealth of knowledge will be a great benefit to our staff and players. More importantly, he is a great person and will be an outstanding fit for the program. Kevin and I got to know one another during our time at Wisconsin (1990-93 and 2003) and I look forward to being alongside him once again as we build a championship program at Akron."

Cosgrove spent the last two seasons as Minnesota's co-defensive coordinator, during which time he oversaw a unit that improved its pass defense from 93rd nationally in 2008 to 55th in 2009 and 33rd last season. He also saw three of his linebackers - Lee Campbell, Simoni Lawrence and Nate Triplett - earn invites to the 2009 NFL Combine.

From 2004-07, Cosgrove was defensive coordinator at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers' defense ranked 11th nationally in rushing defense in 2004, led the nation in sacks (50, 4.17 per game) and tackles for loss (124, 10.33 per game) in 2005, while also ranking in the top 25 nationally in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense in 2005 and 2006. He helped the program to a Big 12 North Division Championship in 2006 and appearances in the 2005 Alamo and 2007 Cotton bowls. In his four seasons, he mentored seven first- or second-team All-Big 12 defenders.

Prior to his time at Nebraska, he spent 14 seasons (1990-2003) at Wisconsin under head coach Barry Alvarez and coordinated the Badger defense from 1995-2003. During that span, UW won Big Ten titles in 1993, 1998 and 1999, following each with a victory in the Rose Bowl. In his tenure in Madison, the program posted a 7-2 record in bowl games. Cosgrove also coached the linebackers at Wisconsin (1990-94), tutoring three who led the conference in tackles in three different seasons. Included in that trio is the program's all-time leading tackler, Pete Monty, who Cosgrove also recruited.

A native of Chicago, he coached linebackers at Colorado State in 1989, was defensive coordinator at Southeast Missouri State in 1988 and linebackers coach at Illinois (1983-87) and Morehead State (1983). He served as graduate assistant at Illinois from 1980-83.

"I'm excited to join The University of Akron family," Cosgrove said. "I embrace the opportunity to work with Rob (Ianello) and can't wait to meet the players and staff. Rob has great pedigree to be a successful head coach and I share in his vision of building Akron football into a championship program."

Cosgrove competed collegiately at Benedictine College (Ill.) in 1974 and at Wisconsin-Oshkosh from 1976-78, where he completed a bachelor of science degree in physical education in 1980. He and his wife, Shelly, have two sons, Clint and Connor, and one daughter, Shannon. He's a member of the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame, being inducted in 2008. In 2006, he was recognized by CBS College Sports Network analyst Tom Lemming as one of the nation's top recruiters, and in 2002 was named the top coordinator in the Big Ten by The Sporting News. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. identified Cosgrove as one of the top coordinators in the country in 1999.

Cosgrove replaces Curt Mallory on the UA staff, who earlier this month accepted a position on the defensive staff at Michigan, his alma mater.

The Cosgrove File:
Born: December 27, 1955
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Education: B.S., Physical Education – Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 1980
High School: Mt. Carmel High School
Family: Wife, Shelly; Sons, Clint and Connor; Daughter, Shannon

Coaching Experience Year-By-Year:
2009-2010: Minnesota – Co-Defensive Coordinator
2004-07: Nebraska – Defensive Coordinator
1995-2003: Wisconsin – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
1990-94: Wisconsin – Linebackers Coach
1989: Colorado State – Linebackers Coach
1988: Southeast Missouri State – Defensive Coordinator
1983-87: Illinois – Linebackers Coach
1983: Morehead State – Linebackers Coach
1980-83: Illinois – Graduate Assistant

Bowl Games:
Alamo Bowl 2002, ‘05; Blue Gray Bowl 1995; Copper Bowl 1996; Cotton Bowl 2007; Hall of Fame Bowl 1995; Insight Bowl 2009; Liberty Bowl 1982; Music City Bowl 2003; Outback Bowl 1998; Peach Bowl 1985; Rose Bowl 1984, ‘94, ‘99, ‘00; Sun Bowl 2000
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