Michigan State Spartans Coaching Staff 2023

After a 5-7 season in 2022, the Michigan State Spartans' coaching staff hopes to find better success and duplicate their 11-2 season in 2021.

2023 is a critical one for the Michigan State Spartans after finishing last season with a 5-7 record. The Spartans’ coaching staff is hoping for big things as Michigan State pushes in 2023 to be one of the top teams in the Big Ten.

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Michigan State Spartans Coaching Staff

With his status in the air as the current head coach, check out the latest news on Mel Tucker’s suspension from the sidelines for Michigan State.

Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, Jay Johnson

Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson has a long history together that dates back to their time at Georgia. Johnson is entering his fourth season with Michigan State as their offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. The 2021 season was his best season with the program after being named a Broyles Award nominee as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation. Michigan State was third in the Big Ten that season in points per game with 31.8.

Johnson also held the same position at Colorado in the lone season he was there. His top offensive player that season, receiver Laviska Shenault, ended up being a second-round pick in the NFL Draft in 2020.

He also coached at Georgia prior to that for two seasons as their offensive analyst. His role with Kirby Smart’s coaching staff was helping with game planning and recruiting that set the foundation for what is now a two-straight national champion Bulldogs team. Georgia made the SEC Title Game in 2017 and a College Football appearance in that time.

Johnson was an offensive coordinator at five other schools, including Minnesota, Louisiana, Southern Miss, Truman State, and Augsburg (Minn.) College. He held assistant coaching positions at Central Michigan, Louisville, Kansas, Missouri, and Hickman High School.

  • Hickman High School (Assistant Coach, 1993)
  • Missouri (Graduate Assistant on Offense, 1994)
  • Augsburg (Minn.) College (Offensive Coordinator, 1994)
  • Truman State (Offensive Coordinator, 1995-1996)
  • Kansas (Graduate Assistant on Offense, 1997-1998)
  • Kansas (QB Coach, 1999-2000)
  • Kansas (RB Coach, 2001)
  • Southern Miss (RB Coach, 2003)
  • Southern Miss (TE Coach, 2004)
  • Southern Miss (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, 2005-2007)
  • Louisville (Quality Control for Offense, 2008)
  • Louisville (TE Coach, 2009)
  • Central Michigan (QB Coach, 2010)
  • Louisiana (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, 2011-2015)
  • Minnesota (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, 2016)
  • Georgia (Quality Control of Offense, 2017-2018)
  • Colorado (Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, 2019)

Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach, Scottie Hazelton

This is the fourth season for defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton, who also coaches the linebackers for the program. Six Michigan State Spartans on defense in 2021 were named to the All-Big Ten team after the team went 11-2 and won the Peach Bowl. He also had three players on defense in his first season with the program in 2020 and made the All-Big Ten team as well.

Prior to Michigan State, he spent one season in the Big 12 with the Kansas State Wildcats, helping the defense improve dramatically in a short time. His defensive unit ranked second in the Big 12 in scoring defense (21.4) and ranked first in the conference and second in the country in third-down defense (.280). Five players in total on his defense were named to the All-Big 12 team.

He also served as the defensive coordinator for Wyoming in 2017 and 2018, leading the Cowboys’ defense as one of the top units. In both seasons, they ranked in the top 30 in total defense and scoring defense. Thirteen total players in two seasons were named to all-conference honors.

Hazelton also held defensive coordinator roles with Nevada, North Dakota State, and Missouri Southern State. He spent three seasons in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2014 until 2016, coaching the linebackers. USC was also a destination for him for one season in 2012, leading their linebacking corps.

  • Fort Lewis College (DB Coach, 1996-1999)
  • North Dakota State (Graduate Assistant, 2000-2001)
  • Olaf (Recruiting Coordinator/DB Coach, 2002-2003)
  • Missouri Southern State (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach, 2004-2005)
  • Michigan Tech (LB Coach/Special Team Coach, 2004-2005)
  • North Dakota State (DL Coach, 2007-2009)
  • North Dakota State (Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach, 2010-2011)
  • USC (LB Coach, 2012)
  • Nevada (Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach, 2013)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL) (Assistant LB Coach, 2014-2016)
  • Wyoming (Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach, 2017-2018)
  • Kansas State (Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach, 2019)

Special Teams Coordinator, Ross Els

Ross Els is in his fourth season leading the special teams unit. He also helped coach the linebackers for two seasons at Michigan State before assisting with the nickelbacks beginning in 2022. Els’ special teams unit was first in the country last season in net punting (45.5 yards per punt).

His punter, Bryce Baringer, earned All-American honors last season after setting the school record for punting average. He also helped with the linebackers in 2021, and two of the linebackers were named to All-Big Ten honors.

Els previously spent three seasons at Colorado coaching their special teams and linebackers from 2017 until 2019. He helped linebacker Nate Landman land on the First-Team All-Pac 12 team as he ranked fourth in the conference in tackles with 104 in 2019.

His experience in the Power Five conferences is also evident in his resume after spending time with Purdue as their defensive coordinator in 2016 and Nebraska coaching linebackers and special teams from 2011 until 2014.

He also has head coaching experience back in the late ’90s as he led the Hastings (Neb.) College program from 1997 until 2000. Els compiled a strong record of 32-9 with NAIA playoff appearances in 1998 and 1999.

  • Northern Iowa (Graduate Assistant, 1989)
  • Nebraska-Omaha (Secondary Coach, 1990-1993)
  • Northern Iowa (Secondary Coach, 1994)
  • Hastings (Neb.) College (QB Coach, 1995)
  • Hastings (Neb.) College (Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach, 1996)
  • Hastings (Neb.) College (Head Coach, 1997-2000)
  • New Mexico (Safeties/Special Teams Coach, 2001-2002)
  • New Mexico State (Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach, 2003-2004)
  • Ohio (LB Coach, 2005-2006)
  • Ohio (LB Coach/Special Teams Coordinator, 2007-2009)
  • Ohio (Assistant Head Coach/LB Coach/Special Teams Coordinator, 2010)
  • Nebraska (LB Coach, 2011)
  • Nebraska (LB Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator, 2012-2014)
  • Lincoln Southwest High School (LB Coach, 2015)
  • Purdue (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach, 2016)
  • Colorado (Inside LB Coach/Special Teams Coach, 2017-2019)

Assistant Head Coach/OL Coach/Run Game Coordinator, Chris Kapilovic

Chris Kapilovic is entering his fourth season with Michigan State as their assistant head coach, while also assisting with coaching their offensive line. Kapilovic has held offensive coordinator roles with North Carolina and Alabama State.

He has also coached offensive lines and served as a run game coordinator at Colorado, Southern Miss, Missouri State, Kansas, Phoenix College, and Deer Valley (Arizona) High School.

Secondary Coach, Harlon Barnett

Harlon Barnett has been with the Michigan State program for 15 seasons, starting in 2007 coaching their secondary. Barnett moved up to defensive coordinator and assistant head coach in the mid-2010s for the program.

Despite a brief two-year stint with the Florida State Seminoles, Barnett has been a fixture on the sidelines in East Lansing. His other coaching stops include a GA position at LSU and a spot on Mark Dantonio’s staff at Cincinnati.

He is currently the secondary coach and acting head coach of the program until Tucker’s suspension ends.

Tight End Coach, Ted Gilmore

Ted Gilmore joins multiple coaching staff members at Michigan State as he is in his fourth season with the program coaching their tight ends. Most of Gilmore’s coaching career has been more focused on coaching wide receivers, as he did that with Wisconsin, the Oakland Raiders, USC, Nebraska, Colorado, Purdue, Houston, and Wyoming.

His biggest role of his career was offensive pass game coordinator at Wisconsin from 2017 until 2019.

WR Coach, Courtney Hawkins

Courtney Hawkins has been coaching the wide receivers at Michigan State since 2020. Former receiver Jayden Reed was his top receiver at Michigan State after he finished as a First-Team All-American in 2021 as an all-purpose player.

The majority of Hawkins’ coaching career was spent at Flint Beecher High School as their head coach and athletic director from 2006 until 2020.

RB Coach, Effrem Reed

It is season four for Effrem Reed coaching the running backs for the Spartans after starting his time at Michigan State as an offensive analyst before being promoted to running back coach in 2022. This is his first time coaching for a college football team.

DL Coach, Diron Reynolds

Diron Reynolds is in his first season as the defensive line coach for Michigan State. Reynolds was previously with Stanford as their defensive line coach from 2016 until 2022. He also coached in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Minnesota Vikings, coaching four Pro Bowlers in his career.

CB Coach, Jim Salgado

Another coach in his first season with the program, Jim Salgado is leading the cornerbacks at Michigan State. Last season, he was coaching the safeties with the Buffalo Bills in the NFL. His biggest role was defensive coordinator at Princeton from 2013 until 2016.

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