As the University of Miami football team closed the book on its 2015 season on Saturday in a 20-14 loss to Washington State in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, Sunday provided the genesis of what is to come in the Mark Richt era.
While no official announcements were made by UM on Sunday, the staff for new coach Richt continues to take shape with reports of movement among several assistants. Announcements are expected this week.
Longtime offensive line coach Art Kehoe will not return, and Missouri’s Craig Kuligowski will join the Hurricanes as defensive line coach, according to CanesInSight.com.
FootballScoop.com confirmed the report on Kuligowski, who has spent the past 15 years at Mizzou and turned down an opportunity last January to become co-defensive coordinator at Illinois.
Linebackers coach Hurlie Brown also will not be retained, according to a report in Sports Illustrated’s Canes Warning.
CanesInSight also reported that wide receivers coach Kevin Beard is not expected to return to the staff, but a source has told the Miami Herald that Beard’s retention of the position under Richt is still possible.
Outside linebackers coach Kareem Brown let it be known his departure is imminent with an Instagram post stating, “When one door closes, another door opens.”
Brown continued in the caption below the picture: “God has bigger and better things in store for me. No matter what I’m still a Miami Hurricane till I die & NO ONE can ever take that away Trust me Miami I’ll be back one day.”
The hiring of Kuligowski means current defensive line coach Randy Melvin is unlikely to be retained.
With defensive backs coach Paul Williams taking that same role at Illinois, according to multiple reports, it would make for a virtual clean slate of defensive assistants after the Canes surrendered 28.2 points and more than 400 yards per game in 2015. Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio also won’t return, although no official announcement has been made.
Kehoe rejoined the Hurricanes staff as offensive line coach under former coach Al Golden in 2011 following a lengthy stint as a UM assistant serving a number of roles but mostly working with the line from 1981-2005. Kehoe was part of all five of the program’s national championships.
The report also said Kehoe was offered a fund-raising position with the program, but it is unclear if he will accept.
Kuligowski’s work is much respected around college football as he has worked with first-round NFL Draft selections Aldon Smith and Sheldon Richardson, SEC Defensive Player of the Year winners Michael Sam and Shane Ray and 11-year NFL veteran C.J. Mosley, who spent part of the 2015 season with the Dolphins.
The news of Kuligowski, nicknamed Coach Kool, is refreshing for Canes fans looking for the school to invest money in quality assistants. Kuligowski’s salary was $362,500 in 2015, according to USA Today.
As a private institution, UM is not required to report its coaches’ salaries.
Kuligowski is expected to join Thomas Brown and Todd Hartley, two current Georgia assistants who were first reported to be joining Richt in Miami by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.
Brown, 29, was running backs coach this season at Georgia where he played from 2004-2007. He held the same position at different schools the three previous seasons — Wisconsin in 2014, Marshall in 2013 and Chattanooga in 2012 — and spent the 2011 season as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at his alma mater following a three-year stint in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns.
Hartley was director of player personnel with the Bulldogs under Richt — a position he took last January after spending three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Marshall.
Both Brown and Hartley are currently slated to coach the Bulldogs against Penn State in the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville on Jan. 2 — Hartley as interim special teams coordinator.