Badgers announce hire of offensive, defensive coordinators

Wisconsin made official Tuesday night what had been known for some time — Phil Longo will be its new offensive coordinator and Mike Tressel would lead the defense.

“I’m extremely excited for our players and our program to add Phil and Mike,” head coach Luke Fickell said in a statement. “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.”

Longo led the North Carolina offense the last four years and the result was some of the best units in school history. They finished in the top 15 in total offense in the country all four seasons, and behind strong play from star quarterbacks Sam Howell and Drake Maye, they averaged 36.3 points per game.

“I am elated to be joining Coach Fickell and his staff at Wisconsin,” Longo said in the release. “The welcome from around the state has been tremendous. My wife Tanya and I are excited to get settled in. I can’t wait to hit the ground running with our players and staff.”

Longo has already made an impact for the Badgers, playing a leading role in the landing of transfer quarterback Tanner Mordecai and Nick Evers, along with the commitment of four-star 2024 quarterback Mabrey Mettauer. Longo will serve as the quarterback’s coach in addition to his offensive coordinator duties.

Tressel comes with Fickell from Cincinnati where he served as co-defensive coordinator the last two years. That included in 2021 when the Bearcats ranked fifth in the country in scoring defense and second in the nation in passing defense on their way to the College Football Playoff. Nine Cincinnati players were drafted last spring, including six on defense.

“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 the release. “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.”

Tressel will also coach Wisconsin’s linebackers.