MADISON, Wis. (AP) — After spending the last two seasons as defensive coordinator on Luke Fickell’s Cincinnati staff, Mike Tressel is following him to Wisconsin.
Wisconsin announced on Tuesday the hiring of Tressel as defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach and Phil Longo as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Longo, who had been North Carolina’s offensive coordinator the last four seasons, had said last month he was joining Wisconsin’s staff in the same role.
“I’m extremely excited for our players and our program to add Phil and Mike,” Fickell said Tuesday in a statement released by the university. “I’ve built a relationship with Phil over the past six years and am happy to finally be able to work side-by-side with him. He’s a very innovative and well-rounded football coach. He’s a tremendous person and family man and truly cares about his players.
“I’ve known Mike for 20 years and he is a great coach and person. He has incredible experience, including a terrific background in the Big Ten. Over the last two years coaching together I was impressed with his ability to adapt both as a coach on the field and to the culture of a program. We are very fortunate to have both Phil and Mike on staff.”
In Tressel’s first year as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator, the Bearcats reached the College Football Playoff and ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense. Cincinnati allowed 4.5 yards per play, the fourth-lowest average of any Football Bowl Subdivision team.
This season, Cincinnati ranks 20th in scoring defense. The Bearcats gave up 4.61 yards per play, the sixth-lowest average of any FBS team.
Tressel worked on Michigan State’s staff from 2007-20 and was defensive coordinator 2018 and 2019.
“I’m beyond excited to join the Wisconsin football family and look forward to carrying on the tradition of elite defenses here in Madison,” Tressel said in a statement. “This is a program I’ve always admired and it’s great to be back in the Big Ten. I’m most excited to be able to work with the tremendous young men here. They have already demonstrated to me great work ethic, intelligence and ability.”
Wisconsin named Fickell coach on Nov. 27, the day after the Badgers closed a 6-6 regular season with a 23-16 loss to Minnesota. Fickell was on the Wisconsin sideline with interim head coach Jim Leonhard, who won’t be part of the Badgers’ 2023 staff, for a 24-17 Guaranteed Rate Bowl victory over Oklahoma State on Dec. 27.