Lincoln -- After serving as Barry Alvarez's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of Wisconsin for the past nine years, Kevin Cosgrove becomes Bill Callahan's defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. Cosgrove was a member of Alvarez's original staff, having coached the Badger linebackers for 14 years (1990-2003). Known as an excellent recruiter, Cosgrove has 22 years of experience coaching in the Big Ten Conference and coached with Callahan 12 years total with five years at Wisconsin and seven at Illinois.
"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, hot beds for Big 12 recruiting. We are extremely pleased to have him head up our defense."
Cosgrove, 48, has assisted Wisconsin to three Big Ten titles and nine bowl games (7-2 record), including three Rose Bowl wins. In 11 of his 14 years as linebacker coach, one of his proteges has led the team in tackles. Three times Cosgrove's linebackers, Pete Monty in 1996 and Nick Greisen in 2000 and 2001, led the conference in tackles. Monty owns the Badgers' career tackle record, while Greisen earned first-team All-Big Ten honors. Cosgrove has recruited many outstanding athletes to Wisconsin. Among them, offensive tackle Aaron Gibson was a finalist for both the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy in 1998; defensive back Jamar Fletcher won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2000; while defensive tackle Wendell Bryant, was the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2000 and 2001 and was a Lombardi semifinalist. Gibson (1999), Fletcher (2001), Bryant (2002) were all first-round NFL draft picks.
Wisconsin won Big Ten titles in 1993 after defeating UCLA in the Rose Bowl 21-16. The Badgers won back-to-back Big Ten titles in 1998 and 1999, defeating UCLA, 38-31 and Stanford, 17-9 in the Rose Bowl. In 1998, Wisconsin posted a school-record 11 wins. The Badger defense ranked among the top 10 nationally in all four major categories in 1998, allowing just 10.2 points per game. Led by a stellar defense, Wisconsin's 1999 team ranked fifth nationally in points allowed and posted a 10-2 record, defeating Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Prior to moving to Wisconsin in 1990, Cosgrove worked at three other schools, Illinois, Southeast Missouri State and Colorado State. He served as a graduate assistant at Illinois, along with Coach Callahan, in 1980 to 1982, then was elevated to linebacker coach for the Illini in 1983 to 1987. At Illinois, Cosgrove was responsible for recruiting numerous outstanding athletes, including Jeff George, the NFL's No. 1 draft pick in 1990 by Indianapolis, and two-time All-American Moe Gardner.
With recruiting experience in most of the Big 12 region, Cosgrove was the defensive coordinator at Southeast Missouri State in 1988 and was the linebackers coach at Colorado State in 1989.
Cosgrove said he is anxious for the chance to coach with Callahan again. "I've known Bill 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."
Cosgrove graduated from Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago and first met Coach Callahan during their prep careers. He was a teammate of Coach Callahan's at Illinois Benedictine College in 1974, playing defensive back, but earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1980. He and his wife, Shelly, have two sons, Clint (21) and Connor (12) and a daughter Shannon (17).