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Steelers line coach Kugler leaving to take UTEP job

| Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, 2:02 p.m.
Steeelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler during OTAs on the South Side on May 2012. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
Steeelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler during OTAs on the South Side on May 2012. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler told the Steelers he's leaving at the end of the season to replace Mike Price as the head coach at UTEP, his alma mater.

UTEP didn't make a formal announcement. That could come Monday, a day after the Steelers play the Chargers. Kugler already is believed to be assembling a coaching staff.

The Steelers have gone 31-13 with Kugler coaching the offensive line despite injuries and personnel moves repeatedly requiring him to reshuffle the line. This season, he moved Willie Colon from right tackle to left guard.

Kugler is considered to be one of the NFL's top line coaches as Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey earned All-Pro honors in only his second pro season in 2011. Kugler's well liked by his players, many of whom say he has elevated their play.

The 46-year-old has never been a head coach. He was an offensive linemen for the Miners from 1984-88 and returned to the school in 1993 as a graduate assistant. He later coached the tight ends and the offensive line.

Kugler was an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions from 2001-05, Boise State in 2006 and the Buffalo Bills from 2007-09 before joining the Steelers in 2010.

Kugler has two sons who will be playing college football next season. His oldest son, Rob, is a starting guard at Purdue. His younger son, Patrick, is a 6-foot-5, 280-pound lineman for PIAA state finalist North Allegheny and is a Michigan recruit.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com.

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