Mark Dantonio Announces Hiring of Don Treadwell to Spartan Coaching Staff
Treadwell will assist coaching defensive backs and special teams while also helping as an offensive consultant. In addition, Treadwell will serve as freshmen head coach, a new title created to support first-year players in their growth and development both on and off the field.
"We're very excited to have Don Treadwell back at MSU," said Dantonio. "This will be the fifth different time that we've worked together on staff, going back to Youngstown State, Cincinnati, and now three times at Michigan State. He did a tremendous job as offensive coordinator during my first seven years as a head coach, calling all the plays.
"He has a wealth of football knowledge, including head coaching experience, so he really understands the big picture of everything that is going on within the program. Don was a part of our first Big Ten Championship and double-digit win season in 2010 and was the person in charge during my absence that year. He did an absolutely incredible job leading the program when I was gone.
"As a person, he's extremely loyal and has a strong sense of integrity and morals. He understands the Spartan values that we have in our program from having been here before and knowing our staff.
"Don will spend his time on a daily basis with the defensive backs and will bring a different perspective into the room, which I think will be highly beneficial to the defensive staff. He will also serve as a conduit between our offense and defense as a consultant, since he understands what we're trying to do on the offensive side of the ball. As the freshmen head coach, I think it's important to put people in positions of leadership, especially someone who has been a head coach before and can really connect with the players. I feel that our younger players will benefit from having another mentor who can help them adjust to all of the different aspects of playing at a collegiate level."
Treadwell, who returns for his third stint with the Spartans after serving as wide receivers coach from 2000-02 and offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach from 2007-10, has more than 30 years of experience coaching at the collegiate level. His coaching resume includes nine bowl appearances, four Division I-AA playoff appearances and a national championship. He has coached on the same staff with Dantonio on four previous occasions (Youngstown State, 1986-90; Cincinnati, 2004-06; Michigan State, 2000, 2007-10).
"I'm tremendously excited to rejoin and reconnect with the Spartan football family," said Treadwell. "When I think back to my previous time at MSU, there are so many cherished memories; this is such a special place. All three of our kids graduated from East Lansing High School, which doesn't happen in our profession too often, and two of our three kids hold MSU degrees. So this truly kind of a homecoming and an exciting opportunity that I'm really embracing.
"Experience is always a great teacher. I've always tried to pride myself on always being a student of the game. So even though you're in a role as head coach in the past, it certainly gave me a broader perspective on seeing and appreciating the big picture. I think having been a head coach certainly made me a better assistant coach, and it will do the same here.
"You're always studying defense as an offensive coach, because you almost have to be an expert to a degree to know what to do to attack it. Now you flip it over, and to really get in the room to hear what they're doing and why, that's just so exciting, because it's new territory. It will confirm some things, but it will take me to a whole new level of understanding. Our defense has been at the top in the nation for a number of years, so to plug in from that perspective, learning from one of the best defensive minds in the country with Coach D, is exciting.
"Having served in a role as head coach, you can appreciate how important it is to guide those freshmen early and having a point person, even though Coach Dantonio provides shared leadership roles with each staff member. We all plug in together, but it's also nice to have someone with a new 10th assistant to delegate a little bit more, so I'm certainly excited about that."
MORE ON Don Treadwell:
Treadwell joins the MSU staff from Kent State, where he was the Golden Flashes' offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for three seasons (2015-17) after one season (2014) as running backs coach, serving under fellow Spartan assistant coach Paul Haynes.
During his four years as Michigan State's offensive coordinator from 2007-10, Treadwell put together one of the most explosive offenses in the Big Ten, featuring a balanced attack full of talented playmakers. He also served as the wide receivers coach.
Treadwell's trademark of balance was on full display during MSU's Big Ten Championship season in 2010, as the Spartans were one of just two teams in the conference to rank among the top five in the regular season in rushing (168.8 ypg.), passing (237.8 ypg.), scoring (30.1 ppg.) and total offense (406.7 ypg.). MSU finished the season with 3,073 passing yards and 383 points, totals which still stand as the eighth highest in school history. The Spartans scored at least 30 points in nine games, including the first six in a row, which set then-school records. A total of seven players on the offense received All-Big Ten recognition on the first team, second team or honorable mention.
Treadwell helped mentor quarterback Kirk Cousins, who just finished his sixth season in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, during two of Cousins' three years as a starter at MSU (2009 and 2010). As the wide receivers coach, Treadwell tutored four players who earned All-Big Ten honors, including the program's all-time leading receiver, B.J. Cunningham.
In 2010, Treadwell was nominated for the Broyles Award, which is awarded to the nation's top assistant coach, in part for his role in leading the day-to-day team activities during Dantonio's absence following his heart attack Sept. 19. Without Dantonio in attendance, Treadwell, who normally coached in the booth, coached on the sidelines in MSU's wins over Northern Colorado and Wisconsin. For his efforts in the win over No. 11 Wisconsin, which included a key fourth-and-goal conversion late in the fourth quarter to seal the game, Treadwell was named the National Coordinator of the Week by Rivals.com. Treadwell also coached on the sideline in victories against Michigan and Illinois while Dantonio was in the press box.
During Treadwell's tenure as offensive coordinator, Spartans players earned All-Big Ten honors either on the first team, second team, or honorable mention on 24 occasions, including 2008 consensus first-team All-American Javon Ringer.
In 2009, Michigan State featured the No. 2 scoring offense in the Big Ten Conference, averaging nearly 30 points per game (29.7 ppg). The Spartans were also second in the league in passing (269.4 yards per game) and third in total offense (406.2 ypg.).
MSU established a school record with 28 touchdown passes in 2009, and the 3,502 passing yards ranked second in the school record books. The offense also ranked among the best in school history in total offense (5,281 yards, sixth) and points scored (386, third).
In 2008, Treadwell's offense showcased one of the top running backs in the nation in Javon Ringer, who led the nation in carries (390), scoring (132 points) and touchdowns (22), while ranking fourth in rushing (125.9 ypg.) en route to being named a consensus first-team All-American.
In his first season as offensive coordinator at Michigan State in 2007, Treadwell guided one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the Big Ten, as the Spartans were one of two conference teams and one of nine teams in the NCAA to average at least 200 yards or more in both rushing offense and passing offense during the regular season.
Treadwell left Michigan State to become the head coach at Miami-Ohio for three seasons (2011-13). Following his time in Oxford, Treadwell was named to the offensive staff at Kent State as a running backs coach in 2014 before being named offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for three years (2015-17). Treadwell also served as interim head coach at KSU for two weeks during the 2017 season after Haynes had a two-week medical leave of absence.
Prior to joining Dantonio's staff at Cincinnati in 2004, Treadwell served as offensive coordinator at Ball State in 2003.
During his first three seasons at Michigan State from 2000-02, Treadwell tutored several top receivers, including Charles Rogers, the 2002 Biletnikoff Award winner and the No. 2 pick of the 2003 NFL Draft. Under Treadwell's tutelage, Rogers set MSU single-season receiving records in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions, and left MSU as the second all-time receiver in school history with 2,821 yards in just two seasons. In 2001, Treadwell coached one of the nation's top receiving duos in Rogers and Herb Haygood, who combined for 124 receptions, 2,278 yards and 18 touchdowns. Haygood was selected by Denver in the fifth round (No. 144 overall) in the 2002 NFL Draft.
Treadwell came to Michigan State following one season at North Carolina State, where he coached the running backs in 1999. The Oberlin, Ohio, native previously spent two years at Boston College where he served as the co-offensive coordinator while also working with the quarterbacks and wide receivers. Treadwell coached running backs under Tyrone Willingham at Stanford from 1995-96.
His full-time coaching credits also include one season as a wide receivers coach at Cincinnati (1994), a two-year stay with his alma mater Miami-Ohio (1992-93), and a five-year stint with Youngstown State (1986-91). Treadwell spent all of those seasons at Youngstown State under former head coach Jim Tressel, along with Dantonio, who served as YSU's defensive coordinator from 1986-90. Treadwell worked with the wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks at Youngstown State, and while serving as the offensive coordinator in 1991, he helped guide the Penguins to the NCAA I-AA National Championship. He also participated in the NFL's Minority Coaching Fellowship Program in 1989-90, working with the San Francisco 49ers.
Treadwell was a four-year starter at wide receiver at Miami-Ohio (1978-81), earning first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors as a junior. He earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Miami-Ohio in 1982.
Married to the former Lola Pinskey of Fostoria, Ohio, Treadwell and his wife have three children: Whittney, Blake and Spencer. Blake, who was a captain on Michigan State's 2013 Big Ten Championship and 2014 Rose Bowl Championship team, is currently an offensive graduate assistant on the Spartan coaching staff.
THE TREADWELL FILE
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College - Quarterbacks, receivers, running backs coach and offensive coordinator at Youngstown State (1986-91); running backs and receivers coach at Miami-Ohio (1992-93); receivers coach at Cincinnati (1994); running backs coach at Stanford (1995-96); co-offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and receivers coach at Boston College (1997-98); running backs coach at North Carolina State (1999); receivers coach at Michigan State (2000-02); receivers coach and offensive coordinator at Ball State (2003); offensive coordinator at Cincinnati (2004-06); head coach at Miami-Ohio (2011-13); running backs coach (2014) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Kent State (2015-17).
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in physical education from Miami-Ohio in 1982.
PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College - Four-year starter as a wide receiver at Miami-Ohio (1978-81) and named captain as a senior.
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Coach - 1987 NCAA I-AA Playoffs, 1989 NCAA I-AA Playoffs, 1990 NCAA I-AA Playoffs, 1991 NCAA I-AA National Champions, 1995 Liberty Bowl, 1996 Sun Bowl, 2000 Florida Citrus Bowl, 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic, 2004 Fort Worth Bowl, 2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl.
Additional quotes from Don Treadwell:
On having both familiar faces and new faces on the MSU staff...
All of that is going to be an exciting transition. It's really an extra benefit to have familiar faces, just because that will allow me to hit the ground running. If anyone knows what our head coach stands for and the culture that he wants within this football program, I've already been on the road before carrying that MSU banner in recruiting, so there's just so many natural things that I'll be able to gain some traction pretty quick here. And even some of the newer faces that are on the staff since I was last here, I've gotten to know them, because it's not like I never came back. I was always back at camps or stopping in to say hello. Being a part of what Coach D has done is really phenomenal.
On what he's learned being away from Michigan State, including being the head coach at Miami-Ohio...
Experience is always a great teacher. I've always tried to pride myself on always being a student of the game. So even though you're in a role as head coach in the past, it certainly gave me a broader perspective on seeing and appreciating the big picture. I think having been a head coach certainly made me a better assistant coach, and it will do the same here. You may have thought you had an idea how important certain pieces of the big picture are, but for the most part, it's tough for a head coach to micromanage every position, and then you have 100 players too, so you just can't do it. So the value of who you connect with your program is so important. I can appreciate that even more so now, having served in that capacity, and how that can enhance my bigger understanding of what needs to be done and how it should be done.
On coaching defense...
That is so exciting. I'm like a kid in a candy store, I really am, because gaining a more in-depth perspective of defense will only enhance my coaching ability, period. You're always studying defense as an offensive coach, because you almost have to be an expert to a degree to know what to do to attack it. Now you flip it over, and to really get in the room to hear what they're doing and why, that's just so exciting, because it's new territory. It will confirm some things, but it will take me to a whole new level of understanding. Our defense has been at the top in the nation for a number of years, so to plug in from that perspective, learning from one of the best defensive minds in the country with Coach D, is exciting. During his time as a coordinator and head coach, I've seen him develop players all along the line, and then with him, you also see him develop coaches.
When you look at the secondary, you already have an expert in Coach D, but then you have a tremendous coach in Paul Haynes. I can't say enough about him, and he's been with the secondary most of his coaching tenure. And he was a coordinator at the highest levels. I also can't wait to get with Coach Tressel and pick his brain. Speaking of Coach Tressel, I thought it was really interesting that when he was talking last week after his promotion, he said that the last time he truly called the plays solo was as an offensive coordinator. So he would be able to tell you how much of an advantage that was to where he is now. So I'm looking it at that way too; here's a guy (Tressel) that's already done it, and look at what he's doing now.
On having his son Blake Treadwell on staff as a graduate assistant...
It still hasn't hit me yet to be honest. Number one, he's done this on his own, and he's made a decision that this is the path that he wants to follow. That in itself was exciting, no matter where he was at. But to have an opportunity to come back to his alma mater and enhance his skills with the great coaches that we have here was a blessing. Certainly to see him now, having grown from a player, because I was also blessed to see him as a player here for a couple of years, that was one phase of it, and now you fast forward seven years later and seeing him as a young coach, that's going to be really special, because we're going to be able to spend a lot of time being football junkies together, and I really look forward to that.