The University of Cincinnati made it official on Wednesday.
Cincinnati football coach Luke Fickell announced longtime Michigan State assistant and former Cincinnati assistant Mike Tressel as the program's new defensive coordinator.
"We are happy to welcome Mike and his family back into our program," Fickell said. "As we went through the process of hiring a coordinator for the first time in my tenure here, it was truly about finding someone who was the right fit for all of us, and Mike felt like a natural fit. He has previous experience at UC, and we worked together at a prior school, so there's a comfort level there. Mike is an experienced coach who knows how to call a defense, and I respect the way he goes about things. Excited to get spring football started in the near future and see him working directly with our team."
Tressel, who will also coach the linebackers at UC, replaces Marcus Freeman, who accepted the same position at Notre Dame on Jan. 8.
Cincinnati is scheduled to play Notre Dame on Oct. 2 in South Bend, Indiana.
Tressel, who previously served as UC's special teams coordinator and linebackers coach from 2004-06 under then-head coach Mark Dantonio, returns to Cincinnati after spending the past 14 seasons at Michigan State.
Tressel served as the Spartans' linebackers and special teams coach and defensive coordinator.
Tressel was Michigan State's safeties coach last season under first-year MSU coach Mel Tucker.
Tressel, Dantonio and Fickell were all a part of Ohio State's coaching staff in the early 2000s under then-coach Jim Tressel, Mike Tressel's uncle.
Mike Tressel was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2002, the program's national championship-winning season, helping Dantonio, then the Buckeyes' defensive coordinator. Tressel then followed Dantonio to Cincinnati.
Fickell, a former defensive lineman for the Buckeyes, coached at Ohio State beginning in 2002 and until he was hired at Cincinnati in December 2016.
"I am honored to return to the University of Cincinnati as defensive coordinator," Tressel said. "I have a lot of respect for Coach Fickell as a person and the way he runs his program. The achievements of the defense over the past few seasons are phenomenal,and I am excited to build on the legacy of effort and attitude that has been established. My family and I truly appreciate the opportunity to come back to a very special place in Cincinnati."
Cincinnati's defense developed into one of the stingiest in the country during Freeman's four-year tenure as defensive coordinator. The Bearcats were fourth in the country in fewest yards per play allowed, third in pass efficiency and had the top touchdown-interception ratio (7-16) in the nation last season.
Tressel returns to Cincinnati with his wife, Megan, and their two children, Logan and Quincy.