Greg Mattison always intended to return to Ann Arbor, and now he plans to stay.
The Michigan Athletic Department announced Friday that Mattison, the defensive coordinator, has signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him in Ann Arbor through the 2016 season. Mattison was the architect of a defense that improved to sixth, from 107th, in scoring defense in his first year with the Wolverines in 2011.
Mattison is entering the final year of a three-year deal that pays a base salary of $750,000 annually with incentives that could push that number near $900,000. The 63 year old indicated that he intends to stay at Michigan even past the 2016 season.
“Michigan is such a special place, and it’s exciting to know I’ll have the opportunity to coach at the greatest program in college football for the next four years, and hopefully long after,” Mattison said in a statement. “Part of the reason I came back here is because I wanted to work with Brady (Hoke) again, and every day I’m thankful I made that decision. There’s not a better coach or man to work for.”
According to Mattison, Hoke lured Mattison away from the Baltimore Ravens — where he coached players like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed on one of the National Football League’s best defenses — because of Mattison’s connection to the University and his relationship with Hoke.
Mattison had previously made numerous stops as an assistant at places like Notre Dame and Florida, where he recruited Tim Tebow under coach Urban Meyer. Successes like Tebow have bolstered Mattison’s reputation as a persuasive recruiter. Last month, Mattison was named the ESPN RecruitingNation Recruiter of the Year.
Schematically, Mattison has maintained an aggressive philosophy whose first priority is the run. Players speak of Mattison with respect, describing a coach who likes to joke and rarely lashes out.
Under Mattison, Michigan has seen drastic improvement. In his first year, Mattison slashed Michigan’s points allowed in half, an improvement of 17.8 points a game, while cutting total defense by 128.6 yards a game. Those figures held mostly constant in the 2012 season.
“Greg has proven to be one of the top coordinators in the country, college or pro, and he is regarded as one of the best recruiters in college football,” said Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon. “Greg’s resume speaks for itself ,and he has done great things with our defense in his two years with the program. He has great passion for the University of Michigan and for the young men that represent our team. We are glad to have Greg in the fold for the foreseeable future.”
Mattison previously coached at Michigan from 1992-96 serving as the defensive line coach and then the defensive coordinator. At the time, Bo Schembechler was the athletic director, and Mattison admired him.
“I would be scared to death, and he’d go, ‘Hey Mattison, you’re doin a helluva job. Keep stopping that run,’ ” Mattison said in 2011.
After leaving, Mattison continued to harbor strong feelings for Michigan, and when Hoke got the job in 2011, he jumped at the opportunity to come back. At the time, Mattison said had Hoke landed a job elsewhere, he probably wouldn’t have left the Ravens, despite the close relationship between the Hokes and Mattison and his wife Anne.
“We’re excited Greg will remain at Michigan for the next four-plus years,” Hoke said. “What he’s done for this program, our defense and for our kids on and off the field over the last two years, he’s the best there is. I’ve known Greg and Ann and their kids for my entire coaching career, and I’m personally thrilled they will be here for a long time.”