Feb. 22, 2012
University of New Mexico head coach Bob Davie has announced the promotion of assistant coach Jeff Mills to defensive coordinator. Mills came to UNM in January after serving three years as secondary coach at the University of Washington. Davie also has completed his coaching staff with the hiring of Kevin Cosgrove as inside linebackers coach.
Mills has 10 years' experience as a defensive coordinator at Idaho, Nevada and Youngstown State. In 1998, Mills' defense at Idaho led the Big West Conference in scoring defense and sacks as the team won the league title with a 9-3 record.
"Over the past month, it became clear to me that Jeff Mills has all the qualities I am looking for in a defensive coordinator," Davie said.
Cosgrove comes to New Mexico with 32 years of 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.
"I've known Kevin Cosgrove personally for a long time," Davie said. "Certainly, his coaching resume speaks for itself."
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, he 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 Badgers defense from 1995-2003. During that span, Wisconsin 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 players 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.
"Kevin was on my first staff; he was one of the very first people I hired," Alvarez said. "Kevin did an unbelievable job for us, and a big part of our success was because of what he did.
"In addition to being a great coach, he's one of the very best recruiters I've ever been around. In our time at Wisconsin he got five or six NFL linebackers out of his recruiting area. He is truly a player's coach. The players will love him."
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.