COACHING SEARCH: Don Treadwell

Hoosier Nation continues to look at the possibilities to replace Bill Lynch as the Hoosiers' head football coach. Today, we look at Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell, who drew plenty of praise for the job he did filling in for Mark Dantonio after his heart attack in September...

Michigan State's Mark Dantonio might have been voted the Big Ten's Coach of the Year this season, but he clearly couldn't have won the award without the aid of Treadwell.

When Dantonio suffered a heart attack shortly after the Spartans' 34-31 win over Notre Dame, it was Treadwell who stepped in and took the reins of the program while Dantonio recovered. Treadwell guided the team to a 45-7 win over Northern Colorado, and then when a blood clot kept Dantonio from returning the following week, he was in charge again during a critical 34-24 win over No. 9 Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener that started the Spartans on their journey to a Big Ten co-championship.

But Treadwell has more going for him than filling in for Dantonio for two games this fall. He's a 26-year coaching veteran, with the last four spent as the Spartans' offensive coordinator. Michigan State is his fourth stint as an offensive coordinator, having also done so at Cincinnati (2004-06 with Dantonio), Ball State (2003) and Youngstown State (1986-91). At Youngstown State he served on current Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel's staff and helped the team to the 1991 I-AA national title, the first of Tressel's four I-AA championships.

His units have generally featured plenty of balance. The 2009 Spartans ranked second in the Big Ten in scoring (29.7) and were third in total offense (406.2). This year's squad improved in both categories, averaging 406.7 yards/game and 31.3 points while amassing an 11-1 record and earning the Spartans their first Big Ten title since 1990. Treadwell also served as Michigan State's wide receivers coach from 2000-02, and he's coached plenty of dynamic offensive players in East Lansing, including 2008 first-team All-American running back Javon Ringer , 2007 first-team All-Big Ten wide receivers Charles Rogers (2002), Devin Thomas (2007) and Blair White (2009).

Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass has taken notice, since ESPN.com has reported that he interviewed Treadwell late last week.

What Makes Him a Viable Candidate: Treadwell has been a talked about name in the last couple of years when jobs have come open, but his resume was significantly enhanced by the job he did filling in for Dantonio earlier this season. Not only did the Spartans go 2-0 with him on the sidelines, but he was also praised for the stabilizing influence he provided. Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins said that Dantonio regularly referred to Treadwell as the "Rock" of the staff and the team, and he ensured that the Spartans didn't miss a beat during Dantonio's absence. He also has Midwestern roots, which is important. Michigan – and Detroit in particular - is an important recruiting area for the Hoosiers, and Treadwell would likely make the state a top priority. His assistant coaching salary at MSU also makes him a more viable candidate for the Hoosiers, who will pay the next coach more than Bill Lynch but still likely wouldn't be offering a large enough salary to lure a head coach with a proven track record.

What Makes Him a Longshot: Indiana might not be the only coaching opportunity for Treadwell, who was also linked with the opening at Miami (Ohio) last year. His much-publicized success earlier this fall has him on the list of possibilities at Minnesota, and he could also eventually surface as a candidate at other programs such as Vanderbilt. Treadwell does have a son, Blake, who is a sophomore defensive tackle at Michigan State, but it's unlikely that would keep him from pursuing a good D-I head coaching job. Treadwell has another son, Spencer, who is a running back and recently completed a very good senior season at East Lansing H.S.

Hoosier Nation's Take: Treadwell isn't necessarily a flashy choice, but it's pretty clear that Indiana isn't going go that route in the first place. With roots in Ohio (he played at Miami) and a lengthy coaching stay in Michigan, he should be well connected in the two neighboring states that an IU football coach needs to have recruiting success in if he's going to turn around the Hoosiers' football fortunes. Much of the talk over the weekend seemed to center on Oklahoma Offensive Coordinator Kevin Wilson, but it would probably be a bit premature to rule Treadwell out as a very realistic possibility for Glass. Treadwell was an impressive spokesman for the Spartan program during Dantonio's absence, and would likely do the same in a one-on-one with Glass.


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