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Report: Wisconsin Football Coach on Shortlist for Power 5 Position



Wisconsin Badgers football defensive coordinator Mike Tressel
Wisconsin Badgers defensive Coordinator Mike Tressel answers questions during Wisconsin Badgers football media day at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023.

As the coaching carousel starts to spin, one Badgers name has emerged prominently on the radar for the Michigan State head coaching vacancy: Wisconsin football defensive coordinator Mike Tressel.

According to a report by Brett McMurphy of the Action Network, Tressel is among the candidates being considered for the position following the highly publicized departure of Mel Tucker.

The other hopefuls mentioned in McMurphy’s report were Mike Elko (Duke), Dan Enos (Arkansas OC), Matt House (LSU DC), Charles Huff (Marshall), and Pat Narduzzi (Pitt).

The list of contenders includes experienced coaches from various programs, but Tressel’s connection to Michigan State and his track record of success has undoubtedly put him in a favorable position.

Wisconsin Football Defensive Coordinator Mike Tressel Has Strong Ties to Michigan State

Mike Tressel & his coaching history with Michigan State runs deep. Well before joining the Wisconsin football staff as the defensive coordinator + inside linebackers coach, Tressel spent a significant portion of his coaching career at Michigan State, spanning 14 years.

During his time with the Spartans, he held various coaching positions, such as special teams coordinator, LB/safeties coach, and defensive coordinator, showcasing his versatility and commitment to the Spartans program.

But Tressel’s time working under now Wisconsin football head coach Luke Fickell at Cincinnati is what truly helped launch his career.

In his two seasons as the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator, Cincinnati’s defense excelled in numerous categories. The team ranked second nationally in passing yards, third in passer rating, 11th in scoring defense, 13th in sacks, and 14th in total defense. These remarkable achievements earned him recognition as the AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2022.

Stock on the Rise

With such a strong coaching pedigree and recent accomplishments, Mike Tressel’s stock in the college football coaching landscape is clearly on the rise. His ability to lead successful defenses and extensive experience within the Michigan State program make him a compelling candidate for the Spartans head coaching role.

Despite the Wisconsin Badgers slow start on defense and fierce competition for the Spartans’ head coaching gig, it’s important to acknowledge that Tressel’s candidacy is very real. What adds weight to his chances is the fact that nearly all the candidates listed in the report have direct ties to Michigan State, either as former players or coaches. The exceptions are Elko and Huff.

As the coaching search unfolds, Mike Tressel’s name remains one to watch closely, both for Wisconsin football fans and those invested in the future of Michigan State football.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.