MADISON, Wis. - After spending the last two seasons as defensive coordinator on Luke Fickell’s Cincinnati staff, Mike Tressel is following him to Wisconsin.
Wisconsin announced on Tuesday the hiring of Tressel as defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach and Phil Longo as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Longo, who had been North Carolina’s offensive coordinator the last four seasons, had said last month he was joining Wisconsin’s staff in the same role.
"I’m extremely excited for our players and our program to add Phil and Mike," Fickell said Tuesday in a statement released by the university. "I’ve built a relationship with Phil over the past six years and am happy to finally be able to work side-by-side with him. He’s a very innovative and well-rounded football coach. He’s a tremendous person and family man and truly cares about his players.
"I’ve known Mike for 20 years and he is a great coach and person. He has incredible experience, including a terrific background in the Big Ten. Over the last two years coaching together I was impressed with his ability to adapt both as a coach on the field and to the culture of a program. We are very fortunate to have both Phil and Mike on staff."
In Tressel's first year as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator, the Bearcats reached the College Football Playoff and ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense. Cincinnati allowed 4.5 yards per play, the fourth-lowest average of any Football Bowl Subdivision team.
Tressel worked on Michigan State’s staff from 2007-20 and was defensive coordinator 2018 and 2019.
"I’m beyond excited to join the Wisconsin football family and look forward to carrying on the tradition of elite defenses here in Madison," Tressel said in a statement. "This is a program I’ve always admired and it’s great to be back in the Big Ten. I’m most excited to be able to work with the tremendous young men here. They have already demonstrated to me great work ethic, intelligence and ability."
Wisconsin named Fickell coach on Nov. 27, the day after the Badgers closed a 6-6 regular season with a 23-16 loss to Minnesota. Fickell was on the Wisconsin sideline with interim head coach Jim Leonhard, who won’t be part of the Badgers’ 2023 staff, for a 24-17 Guaranteed Rate Bowl victory over Oklahoma State on Dec. 27.
Wisconsin on Friday, Jan. 6 announced the hires of Mike Brown as associate head coach/wide receivers coach, Jack Bicknell Jr. as offensive line coach and Gino Guidugli as passing game coordinator/tight ends coach.
Brown and Guidugli worked with new Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell at Cincinnati.
Brown coached Cincinnati’s wide receivers from 2019-22 and added the title of passing game coordinator this season. Guidugli joined Cincinnati’s staff as running backs coach in 2017, started coaching quarterbacks in 2018 and was named offensive coordinator in 2022.
Bicknell spent the 2022 season as the offensive line coach at North Carolina, where Longo was offensive coordinator. Bicknell and Longo held those same positions at Mississippi from 2017-18.
Bicknell was Louisiana Tech’s head coach from 1999-2006 and posted a 43-52 record.