LARAMIE -- University of Wyoming head football coach Craig Bohl announced on Thursday the promotion of Pete Kaligis to the position of Defensive Run-Game Coordinator.

Kaligis will be entering his 12th season on the Cowboy coaching staff in 2020 and his 27th season as a college coach. He will continue to coach the Cowboy defensive tackles and nose tackles. 

Kaligis will coach the Wyoming defensive tackles and nose tackles for the seventh straight year in 2020.  He is the longest serving assistant coach on the current Cowboy coaching staff. 

“Pete (Kaligis) has been a valuable asset to our defense for the past six years,” said Bohl.  “His role will increase with these new responsibilities.  He transitioned from being an offensive coach prior to joining our staff to becoming a very effective defensive coach who does a great job mentoring his players.  He is well versed in our defense and will be a great resource to the new coaches joining our defensive staff.”

“In 2009, my family and I fell in love with this community,” said Kaligis.  “At that time, I had two major goals with the first being the desire to be the best coach and representative I could possibly be for the University of Wyoming. The second goal was on a more personal level and that was to have the opportunity for my family - who sacrifices a great deal for me to continue in this profession - to remain in Laramie, allowing my kids to graduate from Laramie High School.

“When Coach Bohl was hired, I interviewed and accepted a position that moved me from one side of the ball (offense) to the other (defense), which obviously meant a steep learning curve. The fact that in a few short years he has the confidence in me to provide me this new challenge means a great deal and is incredibly motivating, as it adds a new dimension to my studies.

“I have always considered it an honor and privilege to work with the young men I coach. I am really looking forward to working with the staff that will be in the room next week. I am excited to work with these guys and get ready for both spring ball and the upcoming season.”

In 2019, the Cowboy defense was again among the best in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), ranking: No. 11 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents only 17.8 points per game, and No. 11 rushing defense, giving up only 107.1 rushing yards per game to opponents.

Wyoming also ranked: No. 6 in the FBS in redzone defense (allowing opponents to convert only 68.9 percent of their opportunities), No. 12 in the country in defensive touchdowns scored (3), No. 31 in interceptions (12), No. 37 in defensive pass efficiency (123.23), 

Wyoming’s 2018 defense was one of the best in the nation.  The Cowboys ranked No. 19 in the nation in total defense (allowing opponents only 326.2 yards per game), were No. 25 in the NCAA in rushing defense (129.5 yards per game), ranked No. 28 in scoring defense (giving up only 22.0 points per game) and were No. 32 in pass defense (196.7 yards per game).

The UW defense also ranked No. 16 in the country in fewest first downs allowed to opponents (223). One of the Cowboy seniors coached by Kaligis in 2018 was nose tackle Sidney Malauulu, who attended rookie camp with the San Francisco 49ers following the 2019 NFL Draft.

In 2017, the Cowboy defense enjoyed an exceptional season. Wyoming’s defense ranked No. 1 in the nation in takeaways in 2017, forcing 38 opponent turnovers. The Pokes ranked No. 9 in the country in scoring defense, allowing opponents only 17.5 points per game.

UW ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in fumbles recovered (18), No. 2 in the nation in interceptions (20), No. 8 in defensive touchdowns scored (4 TDs), No. 13 in pass defense (174.9 passing yards allowed), and No. 23 in total defense (335.2 total yards allowed). Kaligis coached First Team All-Mountain West defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan in 2017.

Kaligis’ interior defensive line unit in 2016 was led by senior nose tackle Chase Appleby, who made two of the biggest plays of the season for the Cowboys. Appleby returned an interception 55 yards versus Colorado State for what proved to be the winning touchdown for the Cowboys. Later in the season against No. 13 ranked Boise State, Appleby created a game-winning safety to give Wyoming a 30-28 victory.

As a unit, the 2016 Cowboy defense scored five defensive touchdowns to rank No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation. Wyoming recovered 12 opponent fumbles, ranking No. 1 in the MW and No. 15 in the NCAA. The Cowboys’ 15 interceptions were second best in the conference and 22nd nationally. UW’s 27 total forced turnovers ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 10 in the country.

In his first season coaching the Cowboys’ interior defensive line in 2014, he coached senior defensive tackle Patrick Mertens.

Mertens signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL following his senior year.   

During his previous years coaching at the college level, Kaligis has been a part of 15 teams that advanced to postseason play, including eight bowl appearances with NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

Five of those bowl appearances have come at Wyoming, including the Cowboys’ victory in the 2019 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, appearance in the 2016 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, bid to the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl and win in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl.

Kaligis was a strength and conditioning coach at Washington when the Huskies played in the 1999 Holiday Bowl, won the 2000 Rose Bowl (defeating Purdue, 34-24) and played in the 2002 Sun Bowl. 

Kaligis served as Wyoming’s assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach in 2013. Sophomore running back Shaun Wick narrowly missed the 1,000-yard plateau in 2013, rushing for 979 yards.  Wick ended his Wyoming career in 2016 with 2,533 career rushing yards to rank No. 6 on the Wyoming career list.

For the 2012 season, Kaligis was promoted to assistant head coach and coached both the Cowboy offensive line and running backs. Kaligis’ first three years at Wyoming (2009-11) he coached the Cowboy offensive line.

In 2013, Wyoming ranked 22nd in the nation in total offense (472.8 yards per game) and 26th in passing offense (282.4 yards per game). The Wyoming offense ranked second in the Mountain West Conference and 38th in the nation in passing offense in 2012, averaging 265.4 yards per game. 

The 2012 season saw Kaligis coach First Team All-Mountain West center Nick Carlson.

Carlson was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List for the second time his senior season. The Rimington Trophy honors the nation’s top center each season.

Carlson was also named to the 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, and was one of only 10 national finalists for the ARA Sportsmanship Award as a senior. Carlson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and senior offensive tackles Josh Leonard (Oakland Raiders) and Kyle Magnuson (Oakland Raiders) each were invited to NFL camps as free agents following their senior seasons.

In 2011, the Cowboy offense ranked No. 11 in the nation in fewest sacks allowed, allowing only 12 sacks in 13 games.

Three UW offensive linemen earned Mountain West All-Conference honors in 2011. Senior tackle Clayton Kirven and junior center Carlson were named Second Team All-Mountain West. Sophomore offensive guard Tyler Strong earned Honorable Mention All-Conference recognition. Carlson was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List for the first time in 2011.

Kaligis coached sophomore center Carlson in 2010. Carlson went on to earn Honorable Mention All-Mountain West Conference honors. One of Kaligis’ 2009 Cowboys, offensive tackle Ryan Otterson, signed a free-agent contract with the San Diego Chargers following the 2010 NFL Draft.

An outstanding college football player and track and field athlete, Kaligis started all 12 games at offensive guard for the Washington Huskies and late head football coach Don James when they captured the 1991 National Championship.

The Huskies posted a perfect 12-0 record and defeated Michigan, 34-14, in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 1992, to win the national title. Kaligis was a member of the Husky Football team from 1990-94.
       

He was an All-American in track and field in the shot put. He won the gold medal at the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival, and placed third in the 1995 University Games. He participated in the 1996 Olympic Trials in track and field in the shot put.                         

Kaligis earned his B.A. degree in sociology and law enforcement at Washington in 1994.  He and his wife, Kristine, have a daughter, Harlie Grace, and a son, Cooper.

Coaching Experience

2020-Present     Wyoming,                     Defensive Run-Game Coordinator/Defensive Tackles

2014-19             Wyoming                      Defensive Tackles

2013                 Wyoming                      Asst. Head Coach/Off. Coord./RBs

2012                 Wyoming                      Asst. Head Coach/OL/RBs

2009-11             Wyoming                      Offensive Line

2006-08             Montana                      Offensive Line

2005                 Montana                      TEs and OTs

2002-04             Washington                  Head Strength and Conditioning Coach

1999-01             Washington                  Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach

1998-99             Meridian Middle School Coach

1996-97             Western Washington     DL & Strength Coach

1994-95             Western Washington     TEs & Strength Coach