After spending 14 years next to UW head coach Barry Alvarez on the Wisconsin sideline, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Kevin Cosgrove will travel to the University of Nebraska to head up recently hired Bill Callahan?s defense.
Cosgrove will join the former Badger assistant coach, who accepted the Cornhuskers? head-coaching position Jan. 9, in an effort to once again put Nebraska atop the Big 12 standings.
Over the course of his coaching tenure at the University of Wisconsin, Cosgrove has helped lead the Badgers to three Big Ten titles, nine bowl appearances and three top-5 finishes in the final ESPN/USA Today poll.
He began his coaching career as an assistant on the University of Illinois? staff from 1980 to 1987, before serving as a defensive assistant at Southeast Missouri State (1988) and Colorado State (1989).
Callahan was a colleague of Cosgrove?s while serving as an assistant at Illinois from 1980 to 1986 and UW?s offensive line coach from 1990 to 1994, and he is excited to once again be working alongside his longtime friend.
?Kevin is a proven recruiter and will be an excellent defensive coordinator for us,? Coach Callahan said. ?He has also coached in Colorado and Missouri, hotbeds for Big 12 recruiting. We are extremely pleased to have him head up our defense.?
Cosgrove was the last remaining member of UW head coach Barry Alvarez?s original staff when he took the helm of Wisconsin?s football program in 1990.
Originally hired as Alvarez?s linebackers coach, Cosgrove was promoted to head up UW?s entire defense in 1994.
Throughout the past 14 years, he has coached or recruited a number of standout players on both sides of the ball.
Cosgrove?s recruits include NFL draft picks Jamar Fletcher, Wendell Bryant and Aaron Gibson, all of whom were named All-Americans while playing for Wisconsin.
He has also coached UW all-time tackles leader Pete Monty, All-American safety Jim Leonhard and two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection Nick Greisen.
While Alvarez does not like to see his defensive coordinator and friend go, he appreciates what Cosgrove has contributed to the UW football program over the years.
?Kevin has been a close friend and loyal coach with me for the past 14 years,? Alvarez said. ?He was an original member of my staff here and a key element in helping turn the program around and in winning three Big Ten championships and three Rose Bowls. He has done a tremendous job here … I can?t thank him enough for his contributions on the field and as a recruiter. I hate to see him leave, but I sincerely wish him and his family the best.?
Although Cosgrove has become a constant on the Wisconsin sideline, the opportunity to coach with a close friend for a first-rate football program like Nebraska proved to be too great to pass up.
?I?ve known Bill (Callahan) since high school,? Cosgrove said. ?We played football together at Illinois Benedictine and started our coaching careers together at Illinois in 1980. It is an honor and a pleasure to be on Bill?s staff at the University of Nebraska. Bill?s knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for the game is unmatched. I look forward to working for Bill and Nebraska for many years.?
Better known as ?Coz? by those in the coaching profession, Cosgrove has made no secret about his desire to one day be a head coach. As well as an expected pay increase, the move to Nebraska will also be another step toward achieving this goal.
Alvarez may look to his own staff to fill the void left by Cosgrove?s departure. Rumored as a leading candidate to fill the defensive coordinator vacancy is UW defensive line coach John Palermo.
Palermo has worked alongside Cosgrove for the past 13 years and, like Cosgrove, has proven himself to be a strong recruiter.
Among Palermo?s most notable recruits are 1996 All-American Tarek Saleh, current Tennessee Titan Bobby Myers and prep All-American Anttaj Hawthorne, all of whom are natives of Connecticut.