Lobo Club
Kevin Cosgrove
Position: Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Alma Mater: Wisconsin-Oshkosh '80
Experience: 4 Years


  • In first season as coordinator with UNM, the Lobos upped their takeaways by eight and cut their points allowed to non-ranked teams by 14.5 points per game.
  • Guided true freshman Dakota Cox to the Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America Team in 2013.
  • Helped guide the 2012 Lobo defense to 71.9 fewer rushing yards allowed than in 2011.
  • Named the top coordinator in the Big Ten in 2002.
  • Nearly half of his 33 years of coaching college football defense has been as defensive coordinator at Power Five programs.
  • Was part of four Big Ten Championship teams that went to the Rose Bowl.
  • As defensive coordinator, coached 47 players who went on to the NFL.

Kevin Cosgrove enters his second season as UNM’s defensive coordinator, and his fourth as linebackers coach at New Mexico. His first three seasons he was the inside linebackers coach, but with UNM going to a 3-3-5 this season, he will oversee all the backers in 2015.

The 2014 Lobos improved on the defensive side of the ball with Cosgrove calling the plays. UNM’s scoring defense improved 6.9 points per game, and against non-ranked teams UNM improved a whopping 14.5 points per game. The Lobos picked off seven more passes than in 2013 and had eight more sacks as well.

Two Lobos earned all-conference honors, including first team All-MW honors for Dakota Cox and honorable mention honors for David Guthrie. Cox and freshman Kimmie Carson both earned Mountain West Player of the Week honors.

Cosgrove guided a pair of Lobos to postseason accolades in 2013. True freshman middle linebacker Dakota Cox, the first freshman to lead UNM in tackles (99) since Blake Irwin in 1994, earned Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America honors. And senior inside linebacker Dallas Bollema, who finished his career at No. 20 on the school’s all-time tackles list, was named honorable mention All-MW for the second straight year.

During his first year at UNM, Cosgrove helped the Lobo defense improve 42 spots in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing yards allowed per game (119th in 2011 to 77th in 2012) and 21 spots in total yards allowed (118th in 2011 to 97th in 2012).

Under Cosgrove’s tutelage, junior LB Dallas Bollema earned All-Mountain West honorable mention honors after leading the team with 83 tackles (16th in the Mountain West) with two interceptions, two sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Cosgrove has 33 years’ experience coaching on the defensive side of the ball, including 17 years as a coordinator. He has coached in 16 bowl games, including four appearances in the Rose Bowl.

Cosgrove is a member of the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame, being inducted in 2008. In 2006, he was recognized by CBS College Sports Network analyst Tom Lemming as one of the nation’s top recruiters, and in 2002 was named the top coordinator in the Big Ten by The Sporting News. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. identified Cosgrove as one of the top coordinators in the country in 1999.

Cosgrove has spent 25 seasons coaching Big Ten football. Most recently, he was defensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota from 2009-10, during which time he oversaw a unit that improved its pass defense from 93rd nationally in 2008 to 55th in 2009 and 33rd in 2010. Three of his linebackers - Lee Campbell, Simoni Lawrence and Nate Triplett - earned invites to the 2009 NFL Combine.

From 2004-07, Cosgrove was defensive coordinator at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers ranked 11th nationally in rushing defense in 2004, led the nation in sacks (50, 4.17 per game) and tackles for loss (124, 10.33 per game) in 2005, while also ranking in the top 25 nationally in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense in 2005 and 2006. He helped the program to a Big 12 North Division Championship in 2006 and appearances in the 2005 Alamo and 2007 Cotton Bowls. In his four seasons, Cosgrove mentored seven first- or second-team All-Big 12 defenders.

Prior to his time at Nebraska, he spent 14 seasons (1990-2003) at Wisconsin under head coach Barry Alvarez and coordinated the Badger defense from 1995-2003. During that span, UW won Big Ten titles in 1993, 1998 and 1999, following each with a victory in the Rose Bowl. During Cosgrove’s tenure in Madison, the program posted a 7-2 record in bowl games. Cosgrove also coached the linebackers at Wisconsin (1990-94), tutoring three who led the conference in tackles in three different seasons. Included in that trio is the program’s all-time leading tackler, Pete Monty, whom Cosgrove also recruited.

Cosgrove served as defensive coordinator at the University of Akron in 2011.

A native of Chicago, he coached linebackers at Colorado State in 1989, was defensive coordinator at Southeast Missouri State in 1988 and linebackers coach at Illinois (1983-87) and Morehead State (1983). He served as graduate assistant at Illinois from 1980-83.

Cosgrove competed collegiately at Benedictine College (Ill.) in 1974 and at Wisconsin-Oshkosh from 1976-78, where he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1980.

He and his wife Shelly have two sons, Clint and Connor, and one daughter, Shannon.

The Cosgrove File

Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Birthdate: Dec. 27, 1955
Family: wife Shelly; sons Clint, Connor; daughter Shannon
Education: B.S., physical education - Wisconsin Oshkosh, '80

Coaching experience:

2015: New Mexico (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
2014: New Mexico (Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers)
2012-13: New Mexico (Inside Linebackers)
2011: Akron (Defensive Coordinator)
2009-10: Minnesota (Co-Defensive Coordinator) 
2004-07: Nebraska (Defensive Coordinator) 
1995-2003: Wisconsin (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
1990-94: Wisconsin (Linebackers)
1989: Colorado State (Linebackers)
1988: Southeast Missouri State (Defensive Coordinator)
1983-87: Illinois (Linebackers)
1983: Morehead State (Linebackers)
1980-83: Illinois (Graduate Assistant)

Bowl games: 2009 Insight Bowl, 2007 Cotton Bowl, 2005 Alamo Bowl, 2003 Music City Bowl, 2002 Alamo Bowl, 2000 Sun Bowl, 2000 Rose Bowl (1999 season), 1999 Rose Bowl (1998 season), 1997 Outback Bowl, 1996 Copper Bowl, 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl, 1995 Blue-Gray Bowl, 1994 Rose Bowl (1993 season), 1985 Peach Bowl, 1984 Rose Bowl (1983 season), 1982 Liberty Bowl