It's Official - Cosh The New Defensive Coordinator

Chris Cosh, who has coached number one NFL draft picks, tutored two Butkus Award winners, and has directed South Carolina's linebacker corps to a consistent level of success during his four years with the program, has been named the Gamecocks' defensive coordinator. Head coach Lou Holtz made the announcement Thursday afternoon. Cosh assumes the coordinator position left vacant with the recent departure of Charlie Strong to the University of Florida.

Cosh, who also served as defensive coordinator at Michigan State and Illinois, has been instrumental in the development of the Gamecock defense, in particular the linebackers, a position he has overseen since he joined Coach Holtz's staff four years ago. Among Coach Cosh's standouts at USC have been John Abraham, who was the New York Jets' number one pick in the 2000 NFL draft and has been a two-time All-Pro selection and Kalimba Edwards, a 2001 All-America and Butkus Award finalist, who was a second round draft pick of the Detroit Lions.

When Cosh was the linebackers coach at Illinois (1992-96), two of his players -- Dana Howard (1994) and Kevin Hardy (1995) -- won back-to-back Butkus Awards. Cosh was also the Fighting Illin's defensive coordinator in 1996 and assistant head coach in 1995. Howard was the 1994 Big Ten Player of the Year and finished his career with the most tackles ever in Big Ten history. Illinois' defense was nationally ranked three straight years during Cosh's tenure: 14th in 1993, 9th in 1994 and 21st in 1995.

Cosh was also defensive coordinator at Michigan State in 1998, prior to coming to South Carolina. That season, the Spartans upset then No. 1- ranked Ohio State and also knocked off national powerhouse Notre Dame. Michigan State ranked 10th nationally in pass defense that year.

"Chris Cosh is an outstanding football coach and a tremendous person," said Coach Holtz. "He has a remarkable defensive mind; he is extremely thorough and he is well-organized. He has the respect of the players and his players play hard for him. We have an outstanding group of coaches on our staff and I'm looking forward to working with Chris Cosh in his new role."

Cosh, 43, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Lou Holtz at Minnesota in 1984. He also has coaching experience at Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Southeast Missouri State (where he was also the defensive coordinator), UNLV, Maryland, as well as Illinois and Michigan State.

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to be the defensive coordinator at the University of South Carolina," said Cosh. "Under Coach Holtz, this program has really made some significant strides and I'm looking forward to working towards the goal of having a championship team. Charlie Strong did an outstanding job with the defense here and I want to continue that improvement. We have some outstanding young defensive players in this program, and we plan on playing fundamentally sound and aggressive defense that takes advantage of the skills that our players have."

A native of Washington, D.C., Cosh played linebacker and earned a Bachelor's degree in Education from Virginia Tech in 1984. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons -- James Joseph (J.J.) and Billy.

The Gamecocks plan on adding one more defensive coach to their staff, with that announcement coming at a later date.

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