Sean Kugler Hired As Cardinals' Offensive Line Coach

UTEP Miners head coach Sean Kugler watches the action during the second half against the Army Black Knights at Michie Stadium.Photo: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals Hire Kugler, Natkin & Raih; Announce Return of Heiden

Tempe, AZ – The Arizona Cardinals Football Club today announced the hiring of SEAN KUGLER as offensive line coach, BRIAN NATKIN as assistant offensive line coach and DAVID RAIH as wide receivers coach. In addition, STEVE HEIDEN will return to the team as tight ends coach.

Kugler (KOOG-ler) comes to the Cardinals from Denver where he worked last season as the Broncos offensive line-guards/centers coach. He is a 29-year coaching veteran who has spent 12 years working in the NFL having previously coached with Detroit (2001-05), Buffalo (2007-09) and Pittsburgh (2010-12) in addition to Denver. With Denver last season, Kugler’s offensive line helped undrafted rookie running back Phillip Lindsay run for 1,034 rushing yards and get selected to the Pro Bowl. He became the first offensive undrafted rookie to make the Pro Bowl and his 1,034 rushing yards were the second most in NFL history for an undrafted rookie. The 52-year old Kugler coached the Steelers offensive line for three seasons as they averaged more than 350 yards per game and made the postseason twice in that span. Pittsburgh’s offensive line helped running back Rashard Mendenhall (1,273 yards) go over 1,000 rushing yards in 2010 as the Steelers advanced to Super Bowl XLV. Center Maurkice Pouncey made his first three Pro Bowls (2010-12) under Kugler in addition to being named an AP All-Pro choice all three seasons.

Prior to working in Denver in 2018, Kugler was the head coach for his alma mater, the University of Texas-El Paso for five seasons (2013-17). He coached two All-Americans, RB Aaron Jones and G Will Hernandez, and nine first or second team All-Conference USA selections. A former offensive lineman at UTEP where his position coach was current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, Kugler worked as an assistant at UTEP from 1993-2000. He then coached tight ends with the Lions from 2001-05 and also oversaw Detroit’s offensive line from 2004-05. A Lockport, N.Y. native, Kugler spent one season at Boise State (2006) as assistant head coach/offensive line before coaching the offensive line for three seasons with Buffalo (2007-09).

Raih (pronounced “RYE”) reunites with Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, under whom he worked as director of high school relations/outside receivers coach at Texas Tech in 2013. The 38-year old Raih spent the last five seasons with Green Bay as wide receivers coach (2018), offensive perimeter coach (2017), assistant offensive line coach (2016) and coaching administrator (2014-15). Under Raih’s tutelage last season, Packers wide receiver Devonte Adams caught 13 touchdowns passes which led the NFC and trailed only Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (15) for the league lead. Adams finished last season with 111 receptions for 1,386 yards. His 111 receptions were the second most in Packers team history and ranked 6th in the NFL and his 1,386 yards were the sixth most in Green Bay history and ranked 7th in the league in 2018. Raih began his coaching career as an intern at UCLA for two seasons (2008-09) before returning to his alma mater, the University of Iowa, where he worked with tight ends (2012) and the offensive line (2010-11) as a graduate assistant. He played quarterback at Iowa (1999-2003), helping the Hawkeyes earn a 2002 Big Ten Conference Championship and a berth in the 2003 FedEx Orange Bowl.

Natkin is a 13-year coaching veteran who spent six seasons (2012-17) at his alma mater, the University of Texas-El Paso, working as the Miners offensive line coach, tight ends coach, special teams coordinator and offensive coordinator. As a tight end at UTEP, the 40-year old Natkin was a consensus All-American selection in 2000 after leading all tight ends nationally with 64 catches for 787 yards. He is one of two consensus All-American selections in school history, finishing his collegiate career with 172 receptions for 1,934 yards and was a three-time first-team All-WAC honoree. Natkin played three games with the Tennessee Titans in 2001 and also spent training camp with the St. Louis Rams in 2003. Following his playing days, Natkin served as a graduate assistant at UTEP for two seasons (2004-05) before working for one season as the offensive line coach at Northern Colorado in 2006. He spent the following five seasons (2007-11) at Division II Midwestern State where he tutored an offensive line that helped the Mustangs to a 41-15 record and win the Lone Star Conference title in 2009. Natkin coached last season as the offensive line coach and run-game coordinator at Hutchinson Community College.

Heiden is back with the Cardinals after originally joining Arizona’s coaching staff in 2013 as the team’s assistant special teams/assistant tight ends coach. He spent five seasons in that role (2013-17) before working last season as the Cardinals assistant offensive line coach. Heiden played tight end for 11 seasons in the NFL with the Chargers (1999-2001) and Browns (2002-09).