Mike Tressel
Current position
TitleDefensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach
ConferenceBig Ten
Biographical details
Born (1973-09-28) September 28, 1973 (age 50)
Playing career
1992–1995Cornell (IA)
Position(s)Defensive back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1996–1997South Dakota (GA)
1998–2000Wartburg (OL)
2001Wartburg (OC/QB)
2002–2003Ohio State (GA)
2004–2006Cincinnati (LB/ST)
2007–2014Michigan State (LB/ST)
2015–2017Michigan State (co-DC/LB)
2018–2019Michigan State (DC/LB)
2020Michigan State (S)
2021–2022Cincinnati (DC/LB)
2023–presentWisconsin (DC/ILB)

Mike Tressel (born September 28, 1973) is an American football coach who is currently the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach for the Wisconsin Badgers. Tressel, the nephew of former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, joined the University of Cincinnati's football coaching staff under Mark Dantonio in 2004. Tressel followed Dantonio to Michigan State when he was hired there in December 2006. He was named the acting head coach when Dantonio announced his retirement in February 2020.[1] Tressel was one of two Dantonio assistants retained by Dantonio's successor, Mel Tucker.[2]

Early life and playing career

Mike Tressel was born on September 28, 1973.[3] He is the son of Dick Tressel, who served as head football coach at Hamline University from 1978 to 2000. Dick Tressel joined his brother, Jim, on the coaching staff at Ohio State University from 2001 to 2010. Mike's grandfather, Lee Tressel, an NCAA Division III Football Championship-winning coach at Baldwin Wallace University.

Tressel attended Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where he was a member of the football and wrestling teams. He was named an Academic All-American in NCAA Division III for five seasons between the two sports. Tressel graduated in 1996 with a degree in mathematics.[4]

Coaching career

Early career

Tressel began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of South Dakota from 1996 to 1997. He received a master's degree in sports administration from South Dakota in 1998. He then served on the offensive staff at Wartburg College from 1998 to 2001. In 2002, he joined his father and uncle at Ohio State, where he was a graduate assistant assigned to linebackers under defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio. The 2002 Buckeyes team won that season's BCS National Championship Game, the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. In 2004, Tressel followed Dantonio to the University of Cincinnati, serving as linebackers and special teams coach. When Dantonio was hired to be the head coach at Michigan State University in December 2006, Tressel joined him along with seven other Cincinnati assistants.[4][5]

Michigan State

Tressel spent his first seven seasons with the Spartans as the linebackers and special teams coach. He was promoted to co-defensive coordinator (with Harlon Barnett) and linebackers coach after the departure of defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi in 2015. After Barnett was hired at Florida State in 2018, Tressel became the sole defensive coordinator.[6]

In his role as linebackers coach, Tressel oversaw two-time consensus All-American Greg Jones (2009–2010), who was also named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. Tressel also coached first-team all-conference linebackers Max Bullough (2012–2013) and Joe Bachie (2018).[4]

Return to Cincinnati

Tressel was hired by Luke Fickell to return to Cincinnati as the defensive coordinator beginning for the 2021 season.[7][8]


  1. ^ Hall, Erik (February 4, 2020). "Mike Tressel named Michigan State football coach during replacement search". Lansing State Journal.
  2. ^ Wenzel, Matt (February 15, 2020). "Michigan State assistants Mike Tressel and Ron Burton to return on Mel Tucker's staff". MLive.com.
  3. ^ 2002 Ohio State football media guide (PDF). Ohio State Buckeyes Athletics. p. 70.
  4. ^ a b c "Mike Tressel - Football Coach". MSUSpartans.com. Michigan State University Athletics. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  5. ^ Hensley, Adam (October 5, 2019). "3 quick facts about MSU defensive coordinator Mike Tressel, his relation to Jim Tressel". Lansing State Journal.
  6. ^ "Spartans name Mike Tressel DC, add Paul Haynes for secondary". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "Sources: Cincinnati Bearcats to hire Michigan State's Mike Tressel as defensive coordinator". ESPN.com. ESPN. Retrieved 19 Jan 2021.
  8. ^ "Football Names Mike Tressel Defensive Coordinator". gobearcats.com. UC Athletics. 27 Jan 2021. Retrieved 28 Jan 2021.