Michigan State's Mel Tucker retains Mark Dantonio assistants Mike Tressel, Ron Burton

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Mel Tucker’s staff at Michigan State will have at least a couple of familiar faces.

The Spartans announced on Saturday that defensive assistants Mike Tressel and Ron Burton would be back as part of Tucker’s staff.

Earlier this week, Tucker replaced Mark Dantonio, who stepped down after 13 seasons. The announcement of Tressel and Burton returning are the first official hirings made by Tucker.

New MSU football coach Mel Tucker speaks to the fans at Saturday's basketball game at Breslin Center.

Tressel had been part of Dantonio’s staff for 16 seasons, dating back to three years at Cincinnati before joining Dantonio at Michigan State, beginning in 2007. Tressel served as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator in 2018 and 2019, adding the title of assistant head coach in 2019 while also coaching linebackers.

In 2015 and 2016, Tressel was co-defensive coordinator along with Harlon Barnett after Pat Narduzzi left for Pittsburgh. Before that, Tressel coached linebackers, the same role he served at Cincinnati.

What role Tressel will server under Tucker is unclear. An MSU spokesman said that Tressel’s specific position is to be announced.

Burton reportedly had accepted an offer to become the defensive line coach at Indiana, but he changed his mind this week and will be back with the Spartans as the defensive line coach.

Burton joined the Michigan State staff in 2013 as the defensive line coach and shifted solely to defensive tackles before the 2017 season.

Ron Burton

Burton is the only coach to win the FootballScoop National Defensive Line Coach of the Year Award twice, an honor he won for the second time in 2018 after MSU finished with the top-ranked rushing defense in the country. Burton also won the award during his first season in East Lansing in 2013 when the Spartans claimed the Big Ten championship, won the Rose Bowl, and finished No. 2 in the FBS in total defense and rushing defense.

In addition to the hiring of Tressel and Burton, former assistant defensive backs coach Terrence Samuel has reportedly taken a job as wide receivers coach at UNLV. As for the other seven members of Dantonio’s staff, there has been no official word, though offensive line coach Jim Bollman changed his Twitter bio to read “retired.”

The rest of the group includes defensive ends coach Chuck Bullough, defensive backs coach Paul Haynes, offensive coordinator Brad Salem, tight ends coach Mark Staten, quarterbacks coach Dave Warner and wide receivers coach Don Treadwell.

Harlon Barnett, a former MSU staffer under Dantonio who spent two seasons as defensive coordinator at Florida State, was at Saturday's MSU basketball game and wearing an MSU shirt.


Twitter: @mattcharboneau