Watching third-year defensive coordinator Joe Tresey run around during a practice is an impressive site to behold. Tresey, a native of nearby Warren, has a tireless passion for the game of football and works hard to get the best out of his players.
In his first year as coordinator in 2012, the Penguins showed steady improvement on the defensive side of the ball throughout the season. In fact, by the end of the season, YSU ranked 11th in the FCS in total defense. Just two years ago the Guins finished 102nd. It was the best ranking since tying for 11th in the category in 1997.
As a unit, YSU allowed just 95.5 yards rushing per game, the fourth-lowest total in school history. The Guins ranked sixth at the FCS level in fewest rushing yards allowed per contest. On five occasions, the defense surrendered fewer than 71 yards rushing in a contest. Against two to the top running backs in the FCS football - Zach Zenner of South Dakota State and Shakir Bell of Indiana State - YSU allowed a total of 141 yards. Combined they averaged 291 for the year.
The Penguins allowed just 23 points in the final three games of the season, the lowest total in a three-game stretch since 2003.
YSU allowed 309.1 yards of total offense per game in 2012, the fewest surrendered since 2002. The 95.5 yards rushing per game was the lowest mark since 1994. The Guins also finished the year with 21 sacks. For his efforts, senior defensive tackle Aronde Stanton was an honorable-mention All-MVFC selection.
YSU posted a 7-4 overall mark in 2012 highlighted by a 31-17 win at Pittsburgh, the program's first-ever win over a BCS opponent.
In 2013, YSU posted an 8-4 overall mark and was 5-3 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Penguins started the campaign with an 8-1 mark, which included the first 5-0 start to conference play in school history. Dating back to November 2012, the Penguins won a school-record eight straight conference games.
The Penguins forced 22 turnovers on the year and returned two interceptions for touchdowns during the campaign.
Tresey has spent time at nearly every level - high school, NCAA Division III, FCS and FBS - during his distinguished coaching career.
Prior to joining Eric Wolford's staff, he spent four of five years as a defensive coordinator for BCS programs - UCLA (2011), South Florida (2009) and Cincinnati (2007-08).
He has experience at the FCS level, coaching at Georgia Southern (2004-05) and VMI (1999-01). He also coached in the Mid-American Conference at Central Michigan (2006) and Akron (2002-03). In 2010 he served as the defensive backs coach for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. He coached at Otterbein (Division III).
In 2011, UCLA appeared in the first-ever Pac-12 Championship Game and advanced to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. He also coached the safeties for the Bruins.
In his lone season with South Florida, the Bulls ranked 24th nationally in total defense (321.8 yards) and 19th in scoring defense (19.8 points allowed) while compiling a record of 8-5. USF defeated Northern Illinois in the International Bowl to finish the campaign 8-5. The Bulls defeated Florida State for the first time in the program's history during his tenure as coordinator and secondary coach.
Tresey spent two seasons as defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Cincinnati under current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. In 2007, he authored a Bearcats defense that led the nation in turnovers gained (42) and interceptions (26). A pair of Bearcat defenders earned All-America honors and two others were selected in the 2008 NFL Draft. UC finished 13th nationally in scoring defense (18.8), was 19th in rushing defense (114.2) and put five of 11 defensive starters on the All-Big East team. UC went 10-3 and capped the season with win in the PapaJohns.com Bowl.
In 2008, Cincinnati ranked 31st nationally in total defense (321.9 yards), 19th in rushing defense (115.0) and 25th in scoring defense (20.1 points). The Bearcats were 11-3, won the Big East Conference and played Virginia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl. It was the first time in UC history the program won 11 games in a single season.
Tresey joined Kelly's staff at Central Michigan in 2006 as coordinator and safeties coach and quickly implemented a style that forced 29 turnovers and 31 sacks in 14 games. His defense registered four players who earned all-league accolades. The Chippewas went 10-4, won the MAC Championship and defeated Middle Tennessee State in the Motor City Bowl.
For two seasons prior to joining the CMU staff, Tresey was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Georgia Southern. The Eagles' defense ranked fourth nationally in total defense in 2004. While in Statesboro, Tresey helped lead the Eagles to back-to-back FCS Playoff appearances. The Eagles were 9-3 in 2004 and 8-4 in 2005 during his reign as coordinator.
His first FBS defensive-coordinator position was at Akron for two campaigns came after serving three years as defensive secondary coach at Virginia Military Institute.
Tresey began his college coaching career as the defensive coordinator, linebackers and secondary coach at Otterbein in 1995. He spent four years with the program.
Tresey moved to the collegiate ranks after serving as a decorated high school mentor. Tresey served four seasons as head coach at Middletown High School (1991-95), two at New Philadelphia (1990-91), three at Fredericktown (1987-89) and two at Mechanicsburg (1985-86).
After leading Fredericktown to Ohio's Division IV state semifinals in 1989, Tresey was voted the UPI Ohio Division IV Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Fredericktown High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999.
Tresey is a 1982 graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor's degree in Education. He earned his Master's of Education in Sports Science from Ashland University in 1997.
Joe and his wife, Patricia, have a son, Patrick, who is also a football coach. Patrick is an offensive graduate assistant at Ashland (Ohio).