In one of the more Illini stories in recent memory, Craig Kuligowski has decided to stay at Missouri after being poised to accept a Co-Defensive Coordinator job with Illinois.
Last night, Football Scoop reported that their 2014 Defensive Line Coach of the Year was highly interested in, and expected to accept, a major role within the Illinois coaching staff.
This is big… per sources, Missouri defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski has been offered Co-DC / DL at Illinois http://t.co/sNnVtz3C1h— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 26, 2015
Unfortunately, this was all disproven today as Missouri beat writer Dave Matter reported Kuligowski would be staying with Mizzou's athletic program, likely in an increased role.
Mizzou issues statement from Kuligowski that he withdrew name for consideration from Illinois job— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) January 26, 2015
I heard from several places that Tim Beckman was absolutely convinced he had Kuligowski hired. Pinkel stepped in, delivered finishing move— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) January 26, 2015
This sort of thing happens from time to time in sports, and has happened to Illinois before (Larry Johnson, Jon Tenuta). A coach's agent releases a report of a job offering to a popular coaching news website, whether it is entirely truthful or not, and waits for the media firestorm to build.
When the coach's departure appears imminent, a massive raise and increase in organizational responsibility comes out of nowhere, giving the coach great motivation to stay with his current program. This is not something to be held against Craig Kuligowski, his agent, Football Scoop, or really anybody. It's just something that happens, and it appears that Football Scoop got played. It does indeed suck that it happened to Illinois, especially when the defensive line has been such a weakness.
The second tweet by Matter, regarding Tim Beckman's confidence in a successful hiring, does sting more than a little bit, because it suggests that perhaps this wasn't completely a power-play by Kuligowski. There may have been serious interest in the Illini job and he very well may have taken it if not for the significant raise.
Based on what we know, there isn't much more Tim Beckman or anybody in the Illinois organization could have done about this. If they were confident the hire was all but completed, then this is simply about Mizzou being willing to give Kuligowski a raise. On to the next candidate; hopefully the eventual hire is as exciting as this one appeared to be for about 16 hours.
So Illinois fans had like 16 hours to feel good about their football team. That’s 16 hours they don’t normally get.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) January 26, 2015