Michigan State Football Safeties Coach Mike Tressel has officially joined Cincinnati as the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator.
Multiple reports surfaced on Jan. 18 of Tressel’s departure, and the Bearcats’ Athletic Department confirmed in a release. Jan. 27.
“I am honored to return to the University of Cincinnati as defensive coordinator,” Tressel said. "I have a lot of respect for Coach (Luke) Fickell as a person, and the way he runs his program. The achievements of the defense over the past few seasons are phenomenal and I am excited to build on the legacy of effort and attitude that has been established. My family and I truly appreciate the opportunity to come back to a very special place in Cincinnati.”
Tressel will be leaving Michigan State after serving as an instrumental part of the Michigan State defenses’ success in the last 14 years.
“Mike Tressel is a tireless worker who put his heart and soul into the Michigan State football program the past 14 seasons,” Michigan State football Head Coach Mel Tucker said. “I want to thank him for all of his contributions to Spartan ofotball and helping build one of the best defenses in the country.”
Tressel returns to Cincinnati after serving as the team’s linebackers coach under then Cincinnati head coach and future Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio. After following Dantonio to East Lansing, Tressel served as linebackers coach from 2007-2019 as well as defensive coordinator from 2015 to 2019 after Pat Narduzzi departed Michigan State for the Pittsburgh head coaching job.
In his last season with the Spartans in 2020, Tressel served as Tucker’s safeties coach.
“I first had a chance to get to know Mike during our time at Ohio State coaching the defensive backs, where we won a National Championship together, and I was really excited he was able to be a part of our coaching staff during my first season back at Michigan State,” Tucker said. “He is a tremendous coach with a wealth of football knowledge. I wish Mike well during his next opportunity as the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati.”
Cincinnati is projected to be one of the top teams within the group of five after falling just short against Georgia in this year’s Peach Bowl. The man leading that effort is Cincinnati Head Coach Luke Fickell, a former candidate for the Michigan State job prior to Tucker’s hiring.
“We are happy to welcome Mike and his family back into our program,” Fickell said. “As we went through the process of hiring a coordinator for the first time in my tenure here, it was truly about finding someone who was the right fit for all of us and Mike felt like a natural fit. He has previous experience at UC and we worked together at a prior school so there’s a comfort level there. Mike is an experienced coach who knows how to call a defense and I respect the way he goes about things. Excited to get spring football started in the near future and see him working directly with our team.”
Tucker has also promoted Offensive Line Coach Chris Kapilovic to assistant head coach along with the Tressel departure, both of which are some of the first staff changes since the Tucker era began in early 2020.