As the Cardinals head in a new direction after the firing of Kliff Kingsbury, his former staff has already begun to look for employment elsewhere.
Cardinals’ outside linebackers coach and pass rush coordinator Charlie Bullen will retain the same position but at the University of Illinois under head coach Bret Bielema, according to their official Twitter page.
NFL to Illinois.@CharlieBullen is bringing 11 years of NFL experience to Champaign. #Illini // #HTTO // #famILLy pic.twitter.com/9Vq6lWjDQX— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) January 28, 2023
Bullen joined the Cardinals in 2019 as an assistant outside linebackers coach and was promoted a season later. And the success that his player had under his watch and guidance is incredible.
Chandler Jones set a career-high and Cardinals’ single-season franchise record for sacks (19) and forced fumbles (8) in 2019.
Markus Golden had 11 sacks in 2021 and was rewarded a one-year extension. Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Vance Joseph moved former first-round pick Haason Reddick to outside linebacker in 2020 which resulted to his first double-digit sack season (12.5) of his career and had six forced fumbles in the process. The position change from inside linebacker changed him from being a first-round bust to a superstar Pro Bowler. Dennis Gardeck set a career-high with seven sacks the same season. This year’s rookies in Cam Thomas and Myjai Sanders both flashed potential in their limited opportunities in Joseph’s defense.
Before joining Arizona’s staff, Bullen coached for the Miami Dolphins for seven seasons (2012-18). He was an assistant defensive line coach for the first three seasons, coaching the likes of Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh, and Olivier Vernon. He was an assistant linebackers coach the next three years as he coached Jerome Baker and Kiko Alonso, who had three consecutive 100-tackle seasons (2016-18).
Bullen has experience working with every position on the defense, which includes being a graduate assistant defensive backs coach at his alma mater at the University of Iowa (2009-11). One familiar name that he has helped develop is Bills’ Pro Bowl safety Micah Hyde, who had seven total interceptions in Bullen’s final two years at Iowa.
Charlie Bullen is going to be a great coach for the Fighting Illini at the University of Illinois.