MADISON — Two other Wisconsin soccer assistant coaches met with reporters Monday.
Matt Mitchell, who is assigned to coach outside linebackers and special teams, and tight ends coach Nate Letton answered several questions at the McClain Center.
Mitchell joined UW after 13 years as the head coach of Division II Grand Valley State. His teams compiled a 117-31 record and made the NCAA Division II playoffs seven times.
Mitchell and UW defense coordinator Mike Tressel were teammates at Division III Cornell College in Iowa in the late 1990s.
Letton fills the void created when Gino Guidugli left the UW staff to coach quarterbacks at Notre Dame. Letton first joined the UW staff as a quality control coach and was promoted after Guidugli’s departure. Letton coached tight ends in Cincinnati last season. He was a graduate assistant who worked with the Cincinnati offensive linemen in 2020 and 2021.
Q. Matt, you mentioned that head coach Luke Fickell will be involved with UW’s special teams. What will the philosophy be? Does he want units that can affect the game just as much, if not more, than offense and defense?
mitchell: I was very impressed by his involvement in special teams. This is definitely not just a one man show. … It’s definitely an area of effect and its philosophy is to have starters play against special teams. …The special teams are not only staffed with reserves. If that’s the head coach’s philosophical approach that the starters are there from day 1, then that conveys the urgency.
Q. Nate, what made you decide to move to Wisconsin?
Letton: If Coach Fick had a job for me, I would take it, no matter what the role. I believe in how he runs the program and in everything he has done.
F. Matt, you have been responsible for a successful Division II program for more than a decade. Why did you decide to leave this program to become an assistant at UW?
Mitchell: I think there are three big factors. One was that there was so much respect for Wisconsin, the athletic department and also the football program. … That combo where Madison is a great place to go. …
Obviously a connection to Mike Tressel. I had never worked with Luke Fickell but was always very impressed with the culture he had. … So the opportunity to be part of that in a sports department and (on) a team that has tradition … lots of things coming up that I thought would be great for professional growth and opportunity.
And I’m really enjoying the opportunity right now, I’m going there from 120 players as head coach and I’m mainly concentrating on the nine full-backs now. Many deep relationships so far.
Q. Nate, you trained at Division III Center College in Kentucky from 2015-2019 before making the jump to the Cincinnati staff in 2020. How was the transition?
Letton: I’ll be honest with you. It’s not as big a transition as people think. Division III football…some people think it’s like pee-wee football. There are a lot of really good players. There are a lot of committed guys.
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