Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Mel Tucker adds K-State’s Scottie Hazelton to Michigan State football coaching staff among two others

Tucker's adds included Jason Novak as his strength and conditioning coach and Scott Aligo as his director of player personnel

February 28, 2020

Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker continued to fill out his coaching staff on Friday with the addition of Kansas State defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton , head strength and conditioning coach Jason Novak and director of player personnel Scott Aligo.

In his first few weeks, Tucker has added numerous coaches and staff with his $6 million budget. After joining the Spartans on Feb. 12, he has wasted no time building the program under him.

Scottie Hazelton – defensive coordinator

Hazelton will fill out Tucker's coaching staff as the tenth assistant coach hired as defensive coordinator for the Spartans. According to, Hazelton was offered a sum that K-State couldn't match.

Hazelton is a 24-year coaching vet with stints in the NFL and college.

Notably, Hazelton was at the defensive helm of Wyoming's 2017 season, where they led the nation in takeaways.

Prior to Hazelton's time with Wyoming, he was an assistant linebacker coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2014-2016. Jacksonville ranked sixth in total defense, while two of his linebackers, Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith, ranked in the top 10.

In his one season with K-State as defensive coordinator, he raised the Wildcat defense to second in the Big 12, allowing 21.4 points per game. The season was K-State's best since 2003.

As defensive coordinator for the Wildcats, Hazelton's third-down defense was second in the nation. His No. 2 third-down defense is a step up from the Spartans last year who finished 28 spots behind at No. 30.

The addition of Hazelton rounds out Tucker's assistant coaching staff.

Jason Novak – head strength and conditioning coach

Jason Novak comes to East Lansing after spending the past year as the head of physical conditioning at IMG Academy.

Prior to his year with IMG, Novak spent four years at Central Michigan as the director of strength and conditioning and 11 years as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Tennessee Titans.

During his time at Central Michigan from 2015-2019, Novak handled the year-round training for the schools student athletes.

"Jason is definitely a high-energy coach," Tucker said in the press release, "He has an incredible amount of experience both at the NFL and collegiate levels. He's a great teacher and motivator who develops his players. He's also on the cutting edge of training and analytics. I'm really excited for him to start working with our players."

Novak is replacing Ken Mannie, the Spartans head strength and conditioning coach for 25 seasons who retired this year.

Scott Aligo – director of player personnel

Scott Aligo is taking over the job for Geoff Martzen, who was hired earlier this month, as the director of player personnel. Martzen will serve as the program's chief of staff now.

Aligo has experience all around the board. He has worked in player personnel in both the NFL and college, as well as spending time as a coach.

Most recently Aligo was the director of player personnel at Akron in 2019 and Chattanooga for two years before that.

In the NFL, Aligo worked as a personnel assistant for the Kansas City Cheifs from 2005 to 2009 and a personnel associate for the Browns in 2014 and 2015.

Aligo's collegiate coaching career started as the primary defensive backs coach for Washburn in 2010. From Washburn, Aligo was a defensive quality control assistant for Oklahoma State during their 2011 season where they won the Big 12 Championship and the Fiesta Bowl.

Following his time at Oklahoma State, he became a defensive graduate assistant at Texas A&M from 2012 to 2014 and most recently was the defensive ends coach for Northern Colorado in 2014.


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