EAST LANSING— Former Michigan State safeties coach Mike Tressel is leaving East Lansing to take a new job as the defensive coordinator for Cincinnati, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. ESPN reporter Adam Rittenberg also confirmed the news.
Sources: Cincinnati is expected to hire Mike Tressel as the school’s next defensive coordinator. He’s a longtime Michigan State assistant and the school’s former DC under Mark Dantonio. Luke Fickell and Tressel were on staff at Ohio State together in the early 2000s.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 18, 2021
Can confirm #Cincinnati is set to hire #MichiganState assistant Mike Tressel as defensive coordinator, according to sources. Tressel also was a candidate for Indiana’s DC vacancy. Held coordinator role at MSU from 2015 to 2019. Yahoo first reported.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 18, 2021
This new job will be a bit of a homecoming for Tressel, as he served under Mark Dantonio at Cincinnati from 2004-06 as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator.
Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell and Tressel also have a bit of coaching history as they both served under former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel from 2002-03. During this two-year span, Tressel served as a graduate assistant while Fickell was the special teams coordinator.
Tressel has been with the Spartans since 2007; he has held many titles within the program, including linebackers coach, safeties coach, special teams coordinator, co-defensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and assistant head coach in 2019.
Tressel was highly valued within the Michigan State program and was the interim head coach when Mark Dantonio abruptly left last February. He was even considered for the Spartans’ head coaching position before Mel Tucker was selected.
During Tressel’s time on the defensive side of the ball, the MSU defense has been in the FBS Top 10 for total defense on six different occasions. His defenses were also near the top in every category pertaining to stopping the run. Tressel was a vital reason as to why the Spartans were in so many marquee games, including a College Football Playoff berth, a Rose Bowl win, a Cotton Bowl win and two conference championship wins.
Tressel was retained by head coach Mel Tucker and the new staff for the 2020 season to coach safeties. Tressel worked with Tucker at Ohio State in the early 2000s. This new position, while no longer at a Power Five school, is a step up in responsibility for a program that has been hot recently and finished the season ranked at No. 8.