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Mike Tressel Promoted to Defensive Coordinator, Paul Haynes Named Secondary Coach

Jan. 19, 2018

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio announced Friday the promotion of co-defensive coordinator Mike Tressel to defensive coordinator and named Paul Haynes as secondary coach.

Tressel, who has served as Michigan State's co-defensive coordinator the past three seasons, has been on the same staff with Dantonio for the past 14 seasons, including the last 11 at Michigan State. Tressel will remain coaching the linebackers.

"Mike has done a tremendous job working with the defense," said Dantonio. "He's been deeply involved with everything with the defense since we first arrived here, and has helped coach some championship defenses that have been ranked consistently among the best in the nation, year in and year out. He did a great job as co-coordinator the past three years. He's certainly earned this opportunity and I think he'll do an outstanding job."

"It's a great opportunity for me, but the main thing is the pattern, the philosophy, the blueprint that we've had here, that'll stay the same," Tressel said. "We have a lot of returning players. A player led team is much better than a coach led team, so it's nice to have some great guys coming back to lead the team.

"There will be some things that fall a little bit more on my plate, but I'll be coaching the linebackers, which I absolutely love. I'll be putting together the game plan, like I was a big part of doing before. I'll be scripting the plays just like we did before. Certainly, calling the plays will be exciting and it'll be fun and I feel good about that. But, it's not going to change that much. This topic will come back over and over. We run the defense that we run and that won't change."

Haynes, who has more than 20 years of collegiate coaching experience, most recently spent five seasons (2013-17) as the head coach at Kent State. He spent two years in East Lansing (2003-04) coaching defensive backs before coaching seven seasons (2005-11) on the defensive staff at Ohio State, where he helped the Buckeyes win six Big Ten Championships while coaching in six BCS Games, including two BCS National Championship Games (2007, 2008).



"We're very, very excited about Paul," said Dantonio. "He's coached here before so he's got a Spartan background. He was secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, so he's coached on the highest level with the secondary. He was a defensive coordinator at Arkansas as well. He's been a head coach at Kent State, so I think that gives him a big picture feel. I think he's an excellent recruiter. He's a dynamic person as well, so we're excited to have him on campus."

"I think you look at not just X and O's, but philosophy," said Haynes on why he wanted to be a part of Dantonio's staff. "I'm a family guy; my family is important to me. I know it's important to him. I want my family to be involved in this, and also for me as a DB coach, to sit there and continue to learn. For me to get with a guy who has a brilliant mind defensively and defensive back wise, it's just going to help me sit back and become a better football coach."

MORE ON Mike Tressel:

The consistent play of the Spartan linebackers under Tressel is one of the main reasons why Michigan State has been so successful on defense during his tenure. Under the guidance of Tressel, Spartan linebackers have earned All-Big Ten honors 19 times and All-America accolades on four occasions (Greg Jones: 2009-10; Denicos Allen: 2013; Max Bullough: 2013). Six Spartan linebackers have participated in postseason all-star games under Tressel, and MSU's last four starting middle linebackers who have graduated (Jones, Max Bullough, Taiwan Jones, Riley Bullough) have all played in the NFL.

Stopping the run has been the main theme on defense, as the Spartans have finished in the top 11 of the NCAA FBS in rushing defense six of the past seven seasons, checking in at No. 2 in 2017 (95.3 ypg). In two of the three seasons (2015-17) that Tressel shared the coordinating duties with Harlon Barnett, Michigan State ranked in the FBS Top 25 in both rushing defense and scoring defense (2015, 2017).

During Tressel's time on staff at Michigan State since 2007, the Spartans have led the Big Ten in rushing defense five times and have ranked in the FBS Top 10 in total defense on five occasions (2011-14, 2017). As a program, the Spartans have won 100 games, three Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015), three Big Ten Division titles (2011, 2013, 2015) and five bowl games (2012 Outback, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings, 2014 Rose, 2015 Cotton, 2017 Holiday) while finishing in the national rankings seven times.

Michigan State's school-record seven-game turnaround in 2017 that concluded with a 10-3 overall record, a victory in the Holiday Bowl and a No. 15 national ranking by The Associated Press was led by another strong defensive effort. MSU ranked among the FBS Top 20 leaders in rushing defense (second at 95.3 ypg), total defense (seventh at 297.6 ypg), first-downs defense (ninth with 206), team passing efficiency defense (17th with 113.5 rating), third-down defense (18th at .328) and scoring defense (19th at 20.0 ppg). For the fifth time in the past seven years, the Spartans led the Big Ten in rushing defense, as nine opponents were held to under 100 yards rushing. In addition, MSU led the nation in allowing the fewest rushes of more than 10 yards, giving up just 30 all season.

In his first season as a starter, sophomore middle linebacker Joe Bachie led the team in tackles (100) and was named recipient of the Governor's Award (team MVP). Senior captain Chris Frey and junior Andrew Dowell teamed up with Bachie as the trio started every game alongside each other at linebacker in 2017.

Tressel helped construct a defense that once again ranked among the nation's best in 2015 during MSU's run to the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff. The Spartans finished ranked in the FBS Top 25 in forced turnovers (ninth with 28), interceptions (23rd with 15), sacks (23rd at 2.64 pg) and scoring defense (25th at 21.7 ppg), and were 26th in total defense (349.9 ypg). During MSU's last four games against Big Ten opponents, which included two top-five wins (No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Iowa), the Spartans only allowed 12.5 points per game and under 100 yards rushing per game (91.8 ypg). Tressel was promoted to co-defensive coordinator prior to Michigan State's victory in the 2015 Cotton Bowl over Baylor. In addition to coaching linebackers, Tressel served as the program's special teams coordinator for his first eight seasons (2007-14) in East Lansing.

During Michigan State's Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship season in 2013, the linebackers led the way for the only defense in the FBS to rank among the top three in rushing defense (No. 2 at 86.6 ypg), total defense (No. 2 at 252.2 ypg), scoring defense (No. 3 at 13.2 ppg) and passing defense (No. 3 at 165.6 ypg).

For a complete look at Tressel's bio, please visit

YEARS AT MICHIGAN STATE: 12th. Joined staff on Dec. 1, 2006, from Cincinnati.

PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College - Graduate assistant coach at South Dakota (1996-97); offensive line coach (1998-2000) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (2001) at Wartburg (Iowa) College; graduate assistant linebackers coach at Ohio State (2002-03); linebackers and special teams coach at Cincinnati (2004-06).

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in mathematics from Cornell (Iowa) College in 1996; master's degree in sports administration at South Dakota in 1998.

PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College - Four-year starter in the secondary at Cornell (Iowa) College (1992-95).

POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Coach - 1999 NCAA Division III Playoffs, 2003 Fiesta Bowl, 2004 Fiesta Bowl, 2004 Fort Worth Bowl, 2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 2014 Rose Bowl, 2015 Cotton Bowl, 2015 College Football Playoff (Cotton Bowl), 2017 Holiday Bowl.

MORE ON Paul Haynes:
Haynes returns for his second stint with the Spartans, serving as defensive backs coach from 2003-04. Haynes most recently was head coach at Kent State for five seasons (2013-17) as a total of 12 seasons affiliated with the Golden Flashes program.

Haynes coached 21 players who earned Mid-American All-Conference accolades, with at least three players earning all-league plaudits in all five seasons, including four in both 2017 and 2016, five in 2013, three in 2014 and five in 2013. In the classroom, 55 Kent State players earned spots on the Academic All-MAC Team in Haynes' five years.

Prior to his time at Kent State, Haynes was the defensive coordinator at Arkansas in 2012, also serving as the Razorbacks' secondary coach.

Before Arkansas, Haynes was at Ohio State from 2005-2011, holding the position of co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach in 2011 after being the secondary coach from 2005-10. He helped the Buckeyes win six Big Ten Championships while coaching in six BCS Games, including two BCS National Championship Games (2007, 2008).

Haynes' first stint at Michigan State was during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, serving as secondary coach. He mentored safety Jason Harmon, who earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in both seasons under Haynes.

Before Michigan State, Haynes was at Louisville as the secondary coach in 2002 after serving as the defensive quality control coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2001.

Haynes also had an earlier stint at Kent State, serving as the assistant head coach/safeties in 2000 after being the secondary coach in 1999. Haynes' coaching career also includes stints as the running backs and secondary coach at Northern Iowa from 1997-98, defensive backs coach at Ferris State from 1995-96 and graduate assistant at Bowling Green in 1994. Haynes started his coaching career as an assistant coach at St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus, Ohio, in 1993.

Haynes played at Kent State, walking on in the fall of 1987 and going on to lead the team in interceptions as a freshman. In his sophomore season, Haynes led Kent State with 116 tackles. Haynes missed the 1989 season with a knee injury, before earning All-MAC accolades as a junior and senior. For his career, Haynes amassed 440 tackles, ranking seventh in Kent State history.

As a multiple sport standout at St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus, Haynes was a three-year letterwinner in football, leading the team to the 1985 state championship. Haynes was also a four-year letterman in track and field and a two-year letterman in basketball, helping the Stallions to the OHSAA state tournament.

Haynes and his wife, Danita, have three children, two daughters, Jordyn and Kennedy Rose, and one son, Tarron.

PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College -- Graduate assistant coach at Bowling Green (1994); secondary coach at Ferris State (1995-96); running backs and secondary coach at Northern Iowa (1997-98); secondary coach and assistant head coach/safeties coach at Kent State (1999-2000); cornerbacks coach at Louisville (2002); defensive backs coach at Michigan State (2003-04); defensive backs coach (2005-10) and co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach at Ohio State (2011); defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Arkansas (2012); head coach at Kent State (2013-17). NFL -- Defensive quality control coach with Jacksonville Jaguars (2001).

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Kent State in 1992.

PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College -- Four-year letterman as a safety at Kent State (1987-88; 1990-91).

POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Coach -- 2002 GMAC Bowl; 2003 Alamo Bowl; 2006 Fiesta Bowl; 2007 BCS National Championship Game; 2008 BCS National Championship Game; 2009 Fiesta Bowl; 2010 Rose Bowl; 2011 Sugar Bowl; 2012 Gator Bowl.

Tressel and Haynes spoke to the media Friday afternoon. The following is a selected transcript from Michigan State assistant coaches at Friday's press conference:

Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Mike Tressel:

On acts of duty as defensive coordinator...
Well, acts of duty right now in January are recruiting, recruiting, recruiting because players make plays. That's what we're out doing and obviously trying to get everybody on staff on the same page. But, the defense we run is what we run so that's not a problem. Right now we're looking for players.

On Paul Haynes' `wow factor' in his interview...
I just thought, 'our players will want to play for Paul.' You watch Paul talk, right away you feel like he is a relationship guy like Coach Dantonio is and it'll be a seamless transition for our players. Our players will want to play for him and a relationship will be built there. That's always first on our list.

On his responsibilities changing from co-defensive coordinator to defensive coordinator...
I don't think it'll change that much. Obviously, Coach Barnett and I were a team so there will be some things that fall a little bit more on my plate, but I'll be coaching the linebackers, which I absolutely love. I'll be putting together the game plan, like I was a big part of doing before. I'll be scripting the plays just like we did before. Certainly, calling the plays will be exciting and it'll be fun and I feel good about that. But, it's not going to change that much. Again, this topic will come back over and over. We run the defense that we run and that won't change.

On Mike Tressel the play caller...
Yeah, you know, the last time I was a sole coordinator I was an offensive coordinator. That was a little bit earlier in my career. I've called plays on that side of the ball as well. The bottom line is this: our defense has been known to be aggressive. I think our guys like that. We need to play to our guys' strength. That's what I'll always try to do and ask guys to do what they do best.

On possibilities of being back in the box and if will be weird for him...
It will be. It absolutely will be. Other than maybe one exception here or there, the last time I was up in the booth was when Coach Dantonio was a coordinator and I was sitting next to him. That's been a while. Now, that's not 100 percent that I'll be up there. We haven't even sat down and talked about those things, but I think there's a good chance of that. And that will be a transition.

On Harlon Barnett leaving being bittersweet...
He's a brother. He's a brother. So, anytime a brother moves away, you're gonna miss him. But, we also both know that we're going to talk ball a whole bunch. We'll be in contact quite a bit. It's a great opportunity for him, it's a great opportunity for me, but the main thing is the pattern, the philosophy, the blueprint that we've had here, that'll stay the same. We have had a lot of returning players. A player led team is much better than a coach led team, so it's nice to have some great guys coming back to lead the game.

On how nice it is to have returners with multiple coaching changes...
A real good thing is that we have football junkies at every position. We have guys that love the game, want to watch film on their own, at every single position group. And, they know enough about the game that they help coach each other. They've always done that. We said after this season that this is our best practice team that we've ever had. When you have those group of guys that are a great practice team, and they're all coming back, that's fun. Those are the type of guys you love to coach.

On how the hiring process goes and has gone with filling two positions on the defensive coaching staff...
The hiring process goes, we're looking for people first. We're looking for people who coach kids before they coach X's and O's. Coach Dantonio has a ton of connections. We have a lot of veteran coaches on the staff that have a ton of connections besides just myself, so we had a lot of candidates to go through. In the coaching profession, when positions turn over so much, there are a lot of people that look at Michigan State and the stability that's here and that's a selling point. People want to be a part of that. We have great candidates, we fell good about it. Coach Dantonio's a process guy so we take it slow, we're not just making a phone call and hiring a guy. But, we're going to end up with good people and Paul's a great start.

On whether the graduate assistants will have more responsibilities now...
That's a good question. I don't know how much the day-to-day will change. We do have returning graduate assistants and they do a great job. Jesse Johnson, Joe Bowen, Steve Gardiner, who's an analyst. They do a great job in the background, so we will be able to put more on their shoulders. I don't know how much that'll have to happen. Actually, a lot of the coordinator responsibilities I did do. Obviously with Harlon. I don't think the stress level should rise that much. Now, we'll see how much you guys get after me (laughing). You guys can help determine that a little bit. I've always said this. I've coached the punt team, and nothing could be more stressful than the punt team (laughing. Especially with Dantonio.

On rising to a new challenge...
It's exciting. There's no doubt it's exciting. I'm a competitive person, so I love the challenge. I'm looking forward to it. But, I also know this: it's not what I know, it's not even what our staff knows, it's what those players know. We just need to recruit those guys that are football junkies and leaders and we'll keep playing Michigan State defense.

On goals for himself and for the team...
My goals are team goals. I can't really say I have goals for myself. We look at this past season and where we finished things in total defense and rushing defense. More importantly, in the win-loss record and we know we want to keep things moving forward. The challenge is to always improve. I'm not going to say we need to be ranked this and we want the record to be that. If you do things the same, it's hard to think that you're going to be better. We do have to look at ways to do things a little bit better, and do things as a team.

On if Alabama hadn't gotten that last sack on Georgia in the National Championship game, MSU would have been the number one rushing defense in the country...
Haven't used that line in that case that it's about the inches but that's a great example, and our guys do know that. They know that down to the last defensive play of the season that we were at the top in rushing defense. It's the same as a game. You can look at multiple games that we've played in where we've been behind until the last play of the game, so what matters is how you finish. So, we're one step away in rushing defense so there's another step we can take.

Secondary Coach Paul Haynes

On how it feels to be back at Michigan State...
It's awesome. A lot of memories here. Still haven't had a chance to drive around, but it's fun to see the improvements again that they've made, but it's just fun to be back, a lot of memories here. My daughter was born in Sparrow. I actually proposed to my wife at the Kellogg Center, so there's a lot of memories and my family is excited to be back.

On how excited he is about the job...
I'm super excited. That's the one thing, when I did come up on my interview, I brought my son with me and when we left, he sat there, and my son is 19, he'll actually be transferring here, he sat there and said, because we met some of the players, he said it just feels like they just exude championships. That was the fun part about just meeting the kids, meeting the coaches and everything that's set up here to go win a championship.

On if he's worked directly with Coach Dantonio before...

On how the overlap he has with Coach Dantonio in structure and terminology matters in this job...
Yeah I think that was a big part. I think where Coach D is getting someone in here that, not only X and O wise but philosophy wise, a lot of the things that he believes in, I believe in because we kind of come from the same tree of a lot of our mentors with Nick Saban and Coach (Jim) Tressel and all those guys. I think that was a big part in his hiring in being interested in me and what I'm looking for right now in my coaching profession of just being around a guy who wants to win championships but doing it the right away, family oriented, and a lot of the terminology is a lot of the same. I just went through a little bit with Mike Tressel with just trying to form the terminology so I get on the same page with these guys but I think that played a big part.

On if recruiting will be a seamless transition...
Yeah I recruited Michigan for a number of years and again an area that they have attacked real well is Atlanta and I recruited Atlanta for 12 years also, too. I think it'll be a good fit for just sliding in to those areas. A lot of the high school coaches I know in both areas, I know very, very well so should be a smooth transition.

On the ability to be a player's coach and a butt kicker...
I think it's just relationships. I think it's kind of like parenting, you know, you're hard on your kids sometimes but at the end of the day they know that you care about them, they know that you have their best interest, so it's all about building that relationship so you can be tough on them but they know that you truly care about them.

On if it's different when replacing a coach in Coach Barnett that has been here for a long time...
I think, and again, I know Harlon personally, we're friends. He's a great coach and a great person. It's always hard. The transition is always hard, it's always hardest on the kids. That's again my job to build those relationships. When I was talking to Coach D, I kind of did the same thing when I went to Ohio State, when I took over for Mel Tucker, who was at Ohio State for a long, long time, very good football coach, the kids loved him. Again, it's all about me getting around the kids. Me building the relationship with the kids. And again, them trusting me that I have their best interest. And again, like I said, that's my job to sit there and do. Time will tell, it won't happen overnight. Give it time and they'll learn to like me. I'm not such a butt-kicker, I guess (laughing).

On how he'll use being a head coach to be a position coach again...
Again, I think as me and Coach D talked, being a head coach you see the whole picture. Being a position coach you kind of it small. So being a head coach, you always see big picture in everything that we do. So what I'll translate it... It'll be interesting to see how I translate it back to a position coach. I don't have an answer to that yet, time will tell, but to sit there and see the whole picture of what the program is about and you implement it to being a position coach. I've never been a big ego guy even when I was a head coach everything was done together. Everything was done as a whole staff and again, I know Coach D likes a lot of input in things that he does. But I think for the most part what I learned over those five years was just see the whole picture of a program.

On if he's had a chance to meet the defensive back's yet...
I did meet a couple guys on the interview; haven't had a chance to kind of sit down and just talk it out with them, looking forward to doing that. I'm fresh, four hours here or whatever, but definitely that's the thing you're getting down the language and getting with the players, that's the thing I'm looking forward to.

On if there were any guys in the secondary that he already knew about...
In years past when I was working at other schools, Power 5 schools, we didn't recruit the same guys. I was teasing, I was just with a couple guys that were up in the office, a couple DB's, and I said, when I came in, when I was a head coach at Kent I didn't get to talk to you guys. The (high school) head coach sent me over to these guys to talk to, I didn't get to talk to you guys. Again, just being in those schools, we recruited the same area being in Ohio, with a lot of kids from Ohio. We also recruited Michigan very, very hard. Knowing of the kids but having a chance to sit there and talk to them. It was just a, "Hi, hey, how you doing, yeah I got Michigan State, these guys, these guys." But I do know about them. Great players, great kids.

On when he interviewed for the job and the quick nature of it...
Last Friday. It was a process, I think it was last Friday when it was, but we talked at the (national coaches) convention and then came to campus.

On what it means to come work for Mark Dantonio...
I think again you look at not just X and O's but philosophy. I'm a family guy, my family is important to me. I know it's important to him. I want my family to be involved in this; and for me as a DB coach to sit there and continue to learn. He's one of the best defensive back coaches or defense minds out there and for me I know I never want to stop learning. And for me to get with a guy who has a brilliant mind defensively and defensive back wise, it's just going to help me sit back and become a better football coach. I think all those things: philosophy, family, discipline, he's a man of faith, I'm a man of faith. All those things played a factor in me deciding to want to come here and happy that he wanted me to come here.

On what it's going to be like working for a coach that's as defensive minded as Coach D...
Oh yeah, it's going to be fun. I go back and I was the same way just the last five years with my defensive backs coaches. You always gravitate there and I always know he's going to gravitate over to the defensive backs just like I did. But again, I'm a sponge, I want to learn, you know, continue to learn and also, he wants me to be myself. I'm not Coach Barnett. I'm Paul Haynes. I do have a lot of confidence in what I do, have a lot of passion in what I do but I'm also looking to learn to see what he can teach me also, too. But I know, I know he's going to gravitate over there. I know he's going to be over there, but again, I look forward to that.

On how different this Paul Haynes is compared to the one that left...
It's night and day. I've learned so much. The places that I've been, the people that I've been around. Being able to be a head coach and again, see that big picture. I'm totally different than what I was here back in 2003-2004. Again, all I want to do is add. Coach D has done an unbelievable job here on building a foundation and building a culture. I just want to add to that and just be a good Spartan. I mean, they've done such a good job here but again I just want to make sure I'm adding and being a good addition to it.

On the biggest change he's noticed...
I don't know my way around here (laughing). Before it was just one big square. This was the office... I can't even figure it out... All I remember, all I told guys I remember is that old trophy case used to sit there and have in the front when it was just one big square. They've done an unbelievable job and I just came over from 1855 Place. That building over there is unbelievable. We toured the stadium, it's unbelievable. Again, they've done a good job with investing in the student-athletes, I mean, you can see it.

On what he thinks has made this program successful for the past decade...
Again, I think it goes back to Coach D having a vision and implementing that vision. One of the things, when you look at Michigan State, the one thing that they have done a good job of here is recruit the guys that fit into this program. They may not necessarily be first in the Big Ten in recruiting, but they did a good job of getting the right kids in here and developing the kids to fit into the culture and that's where the wins have come from. That, to me, is where they've done a really good job of building that foundation and that culture of getting kids in here and believing in what they're doing. It's a different Michigan State team than in 2003 and 2004. The expectations are totally different. You can feel it. Like I said, when my son left here that was the first thing he said getting around the kids as these kids kind of exude championships. That's a feeling that these kids have, that they want to go win a championship. I wouldn't say that that was the case; it might have been said, but that wasn't the case back then.

On that the expectations of this program are no longer 'we hope to get to a bowl' and how awesome it is to have different expectations...
Like I said, it's a totally different feel, it's a totally different vibe, it's a totally different expectation now. Which is a good thing. Through your coaching career you get that at different stops and the expectations are totally different. That's the pressure that you love. You love to have passionate fans. A lot of coaches sit there and say I don't read my emails or I don't read... I do. I like the pressure of having people disappointed some of the times. You don't want them to be disappointed, but it means that they care. It means that they care about your program and I've been a part of programs where you didn't get those emails, it didn't matter if you won or lost and I think it's important that your fan base, the community and everybody is involved in it. That's the one thing that the programs that I've been a part of that have been great programs, any one from a teacher at the high school or a janitor or someone, they all feel a part of us winning championships and everybody's a part of it.

On what he learned as a head coach and applying it to the rest of his career moving forward...
I think it goes back to that big picture, looking at the big picture. Again, when you're an assistant coach for so many years you concentrate on just your group, and you don't see the big picture of how it affects everybody. Now I see how it affects everybody so my decision-making is a little bit different, my thought process is a little different and I'm thinking more big picture and total team than just my position.

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