Kevin Cosgrove Named Co-Defensive Coordinator
Kevin Cosgrove Named Co-Defensive Coordinator
Kevin Cosgrove Named Co-Defensive Coordinator

Posted Jan 9, 2009


Minnesota head football coach Tim Brewster named Kevin Cosgrove as the Gophers’ co-defensive coordinator Thursday. In addition, Brewster announced the promotion of defensive backs coach Ronnie Lee to co-defensive coordinator.

“We are very excited to announce Kevin Cosgrove as our new co-defensive coordinator,” Minnesota head football coach Tim Brewster said. “Coach Cosgrove brings a wealth of experience in the Big Ten as both a coach and recruiter. Plus, he possesses a long track record of developing outstanding defenses. But, perhaps more importantly, Kevin is a great person and an outstanding fit on our staff.

“Ronnie Lee has done a tremendous job since joining our staff here at Minnesota,” Brewster added. “I’m very pleased to reward him with this promotion. Ronnie has proven himself to be an excellent coach and recruiter. I look forward to him having an expanded role on our defensive staff.”

Cosgrove has 13 seasons of experience as an NCAA Division I defensive coordinator and 28 seasons of collegiate coaching experience. He was named the top coordinator in the Big Ten by The Sporting News in 2002 and was named one of the top coordinators in the nation by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. in 1999. Cosgrove was also inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2008.

“I’m thrilled to be back in the Big Ten,” Cosgrove said. “I’m definitely excited about the opportunity to work with Tim Brewster and an outstanding A.D. in Joel Maturi at the University of Minnesota. I’m very familiar with Minnesota. I always felt that this program had great potential and I’m glad to have the opportunity to work here.”

Cosgrove served as defensive coordinator at Nebraska from 2004-2007.During his four seasons with the Huskers, Cosgrove mentored seven first- or second-team All-Big 12 defenders. Nebraska won the Big 12 North Championship in 2006 and played in the 2005 Alamo and 2006 Cotton Bowls with Cosgrove as defensive coordinator.

Under Cosgrove, Nebraska led the nation in sacks (4.17 per game) and tackles for loss (10.33) in 2005. He led the Husker defense to top 25 rankings in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense in both 2005 and 2006.

Prior to his time at Nebraska, Cosgrove was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin from 1995 through 2003. He spent a total of 14 seasons (1990-2003) on the Badgers’ staff, serving as linebackers coach from 1990-94. Cosgrove has coached a total of 22 seasons in the Big Ten.

Cosgrove helped Wisconsin to three Big Ten championships and nine bowl appearances with a 7-2 record in bowl games. Included in those seven victories were three Rose Bowl wins. In addition to the defensive coordinator role, Cosgrove also coached the linebackers at Wisconsin. He coached linebackers who led the Big Ten in tackles three times.

With Cosgrove as defensive coordinator, Wisconsin won Big Ten titles in 1993, 1998 and 1999. The Badgers followed all three of those championships up with Rose Bowl wins.

In addition to his coaching experience at Nebraska and Wisconsin, Cosgrove has coached at Illinois (1980-82 graduate assistant; 1983-87 linebackers); Morehead State (1983 linebackers); Southeast Missouri State (1988 defensive coordinators/linebackers); and Colorado State (1989 linebackers).

Cosgrove has a strong reputation as a recruiter. He has recruited numerous players who went on to All-America and all-conference collegiate careers and several who went on to play in the National Football League. He was named one of the nation’s top recruiters by CSTV recruiting expert Tom Lemming in 2006.

Cosgrove played collegiately at Benedictine College (Ill.) in 1974 and from 1976-78 at Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from UW-Oshkosh in 1980.

Cosgrove and his wife Shelly have two sons, Clint and Connor, and a daughter, Shannon. Clint Cosgrove has served as a graduate assistant at Minnesota for the past two seasons.

Lee has been the Gophers’ defensive backs coach for the past two seasons. In the past two seasons, two of Lee’s protégés – Dom Barber and Traye Simmons – have been named Second-Team All-Big Ten selections. Barber was selected by the Houston Texans in the 2008 NFL Draft and played in 12 games, recording 15 tackles this past season. Twelve of Lee’s collegiate players have played in the NFL.

During the 2008 season, Lee’s starting cornerbacks – Simmons and Marcus Sherels – ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the Big Ten in passes defended. Combined, the Gophers’ secondary tallied 11 interceptions and 38 passes broken up for a total of 49 passes defended this past season.

Lee was part of a major improvement by the Minnesota defense in 2008. In 2007, the Gophers ranked 119th in total defense, improving to 80th in 2008. Minnesota’s scoring defense improved from 109th to 61st last season, while the Gophers’ pass efficiency defense moved from 116th to 78th.

Lee coached the secondary at Michigan in 2006 and was the defensive backs coach at Wisconsin from 2003-05. He served as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at San Jose State from 2001-02. Lee coached the defensive backs at Colorado State from 1993-2000 and has also coached at Idaho, Portland State and Miami (Fla.). He has also completed three NFL Summer Fellowships during his career.

Lee was a four-year letterman at Washington State as a player. He led the Pac-10 Conference in fumbles forced during the 1986 season. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington State in 1989.


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