Don Treadwell returns to MSU coaching staff

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Mark Dantonio is turning to a familiar face as he continues to fill out his coaching staff.

Michigan State’ head coach announced on Monday that Don Treadwell is joining the Spartans to assist coaching the defensive backs, special teams and serve as the freshman head coach.

“I’m tremendously excited to rejoin and reconnect with the Spartan football family,” Treadwell said. “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.”

Treadwell first worked at Michigan State as wide receivers coach from 2000-02 before returning as offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach under Dantonio from 2007-10 after serving the same role with Dantonio at Cincinnati from 2005-07. At the end of Michigan State’s Big Ten championship season of 2010, Treadwell left to become the head coach at Miami (Ohio).

During the 2010 season, Treadwell led the program as Dantonio took a leave after suffering a heart attack. He coached from the sidelines in wins over Northern Colorado and Wisconsin, as well as victories over Michigan and Illinois with Dantonio in the booth. He was nominated that season for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

“We’re very excited to have Don Treadwell back at MSU,” Dantonio said. “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.

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“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.”

Treadwell was the head coach at Miami for two-plus seasons before heading to Kent State under Paul Haynes, who was hired last week as Michigan State’s defensive backs coach. Treadwell was the running backs coach in 2014 before becoming offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Kent State the last three season. He took over for two weeks last season when Haynes took a medical leave.

Treadwell was 8-21 as head coach at Miami.

“Experience is always a great teacher,” Treadwell said. “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.”

The role of freshman head coach is a new one for the Spartans. It’s being described as one that will support first-year players in their growth and development both on and off the field.

“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,” Treadwell said. “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.”

Michigan State has one more vacancy to fill, likely a defensive spot after defensive ends coach Mark Snyder left for the same position at Florida State.

Dantonio said he hoped to have the staff completed this week.