We’re just over two weeks away from the first Michigan State Spartans game of the season, as MSU takes on Utah State on Friday, Aug. 31! So, this seems like a good time to go over the current coaching staff for the 2018 season.
One thing about head coach Mark Dantonio is that you generally don’t see a lot of turnover on his staff from year-to-year. There were a couple of changes this season, though, as MSU lost a key coach in co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett who left to take over as defensive coordinator for Florida State. The Spartans also lost special teams coordinator/defensive ends coach Mark Snyder.
So, naturally, there are a few new faces, however many of these “new faces” have had stints in East Lansing before. Let’s run through the 2018 football staff.
Head Coach: Mark Dantonio
Dantonio needs no introduction here, but he is entering his 12th season at the helm. With a 10-win season, he has a chance to pass Duffy Daugherty as the winningest coach in program history. This is Dantonio’s 15th total season as an FBS head coach (he spent three years with Cincinnati). He embodies everything this program needed upon his hire and continues to get the most of his players.
Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line: Mark Staten
Staten also enters his 12th year in East Lansing. This will be his seventh season as the o-line coach and second as assistant head coach. He is also the program’s recruiting coordinator, and MSU’s recent recruiting classes have been impressive. Staten did a fine job mentoring an extremely young offensive line in 2017, but now gets a chance to bring back a more-experienced line. It will be fun to watch that group develop. Staten previously worked with Dantoinio at Cincinnati, and both were on Jim Tressel’s staff at Ohio State in 2002-2003.
Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Dave Warner
Warner will continue to split the offensive coordinator duties with Jim Bollman, but calls the plays on game days. His play-calling has been scrutinized in the past, but then again, he also came up with some rather creative sequences last season. Warner wants to run the ball early and often, in hopes of opening up the passing game. Don’t expect that to change much this season. Warner, who also coaches running backs, was promoted to co-offensive coordinator in 2013. He is a loyal member of Dantonio’s staff, having been with MSU every year of the Dantonio era. Warner coached quarterbacks from 2007 through 2012.
Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends: Jim Bollman
This is now the sixth season of the Bollman/Warner co-offensive coordinator experience. Bollman spent 10 years at Ohio State as an offensive coordinator/offensive line coach prior to coming to the Spartans. He has more than 40 years’ coaching experience, and has spent time on NFL staffs. This is actually Bollman’s second stint at MSU, as he coached the offensive line under Nick Saban from 1995 to 1997 (Mark Dantonio was also on staff then). Bollman also coaches tight ends, and the Spartans have won 74 percent of games and two Big Ten Championships since Bollman joined the staff in 2013.
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers: Mike Tressel
After splitting defensive coordinator duties the past three seasons, Tressel will now call the shots solo following Barnett’s departure. Tressel is the nephew of aforementioned former Ohio State national championship-winning coach Jim Tressel. He is yet another member of Dantonio’s Michigan State staff since the beginning. He has been coaching linebackers since 2007, and also served as special teams coordinator for eight seasons. With much of the talent from last year’s top-10 defense returning, can Mike Tressel keep the momentum going during his first year as full-time DC?
Quarterbacks Coach: Brad Salem
Salem enters year No. 9 in East Lansing, and year No. 6 as quarterbacks coach. He has head coaching experience, as he was at the helm for his alma mater Augustana College (Division II) from 2005 to 2009 and began his coaching career at MSU as a graduate assistant in 1994. Salem also serves as the program’s camp director and helps out on special teams. He spent his first three seasons in E.L. coaching running backs, and has also spent time as recruiting coordinator. Salem is credited with helping Connor Cook become the quarterback he was at MSU, and is off to a promising start with Brian Lewerke.
Wide Receiver Coach: Terrence Samuel
Samuel enters his eighth season on Dantonio’s staff, and is a 20-year coaching veteran overall. He has built an impressive resume coaching at Spartan Stadium so far, with two of his receivers (Aaron Burbridge and Tony Lippett) earning Big Ten Receiver of the Year honors. Additionally, Samuel has had five of his players drafted into the NFL. What was a question mark for the MSU offense last season is now one of its biggest strengths under Samuel’s tutelage, with Felton Davis III, Darrell, Stewart Jr., Cody White and Cam Chambers all returning.
Assistant Defensive Backs/Special Teams/Freshmen Head Coach: Don Treadwell
Treadwell now enters his third stint with Michigan State and has a newly-designed position of freshmen head coach to help first-year players with their transition to college life and athletics. He will also assist with the defensive backs and special teams. Treadwell formerly had the offensive coordinator role with MSU from 2007 through 2010, before accepting the head coach position at his alma mater, Miami (Ohio). He served as interim head coach in 2010 when Dantonio missed a short period of time after suffering a heart attack. Treadwell also served as wide receivers coach for Michigan State from 2000 to 2002 and was on Dantonio’s staff in Cincinnati. His son, former Spartan player Blake, is a graduate assistant coach.
Secondary Coach: Paul Haynes
Haynes is also returning to East Lansing. He served as defensive backs coach for the Spartans under John L. Smith. Also similar to Treadwell, Haynes went on to coach his alma matter, Kent State, from 2013 to 2017. Overall, Haynes has more than 20 years of coaching experience, and many of which were either as DBs coach or defensive coordinator. At Kent State, Haynes’ passing defense finished in the top-45 in FBS every season he was there, including three occasions where the Golden Flashes finished 27th or better in the nation. Haynes has an extremely talented bunch to work with in 2018, but will need to get creative early with the injury to Josiah Scott.
Defensive Tackles Coach: Ron Burton
Burton is a 26-year coaching vet and enters his sixth season with the Spartans. He spent his first four years coaching the whole defensive line, but Dantonio decided to split the defensive line coaching up into defensive ends and tackles in 2017, and Burton now focuses on the latter. He previously had stints with Air Force, Grand Valley State, Eastern Michigan, Morehead State, North Carolina and Indiana. Burton also played four seasons in the NFL.
Defensive Ends Coach: Chuck Bullough
The Spartan faithful is well aware of the Bullough family. Born in East Lansing, and a former Michigan State linebacker, Bullough comes over after spending two years as the defensive line coach at Eastern Michigan. He has more than 20 years of coaching experience and began his coaching career for Michigan State as a graduate assistant in 1997. Bullough has also both played and coached in the NFL. His nephews Max, Byron and Riley, are all current or former Spartan players.
The Spartans also have many assistants, interns and a whole strength and conditioning staff. Other notable names include Ken Mannie, who is entering his 23rd season as head strength and conditioning coach; former NFL kicker and All-Pro Shayne Graham (special teams intern); former Michigan State safety and current associate strength and conditioning coach Lorenzo Guess (who is a fellow Wayne Memorial Zebra!) and the aforementioned Blake Treadwell who is an offensive graduate assistant.