Michigan State Football Update: Chuck Bullough Named Spartan Defensive Ends Coach
A 22-year coaching veteran, Bullough has experience in both the NFL and college, including five years as a defensive coordinator. He has mentored multiple Pro Bowlers, All-Americans and NFL players in addition to coaching in six bowl games. As a player, Bullough spent five seasons in the NFL and was one of the most productive Spartans to ever wear the Green and White; a four-year letterwinner at Michigan State from 1988-91, he still holds MSU’s single-season tackles record with 175 in 1991.
“We’re very excited to have Chuck Bullough back at Michigan State,” said Dantonio. “He was an outstanding player here for George Perles, and the rest of his family bleeds green as well. He has a tremendous wealth of football knowledge, having played and coached in the NFL, and also coordinating at two major conference schools. He’s a front-seven coach with a very impressive resume.
“Chuck did an excellent job at Eastern Michigan, under a much-improved program led by head coach Chris Creighton, and really helped the defense there. I’ve seen his work ethic first hand here as a graduate assistant at Michigan State. He also worked with Coach (Jim) Bollman with the Bears, so he’s coached with members of our staff twice before. He will bring a lot of excitement and passion to our football team.”
“It’s definitely been a journey,” said Bullough on coming back to Michigan State. “I started under Coach Dantonio when I became a graduate assistant here (1997), then you go out into the profession and have a chance to coach at a lot of great places. Eventually, you want to come back home, and I’m very fortunate to be coming home to the same coach that I started with.
“Coaching is about the players – you have to get into their heart and soul. I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to work with some incredible coaches who have taught me techniques. I was taught by some of the best. Now it becomes about getting the players to have passion for the game, and bonding with them. In the end, it’s going to be about effort, technique, and the team. I’m excited to get my own group and create our own identity.”
Bullough has extensive coaching experience at both the professional and collegiate levels. He spent seven years in the NFL with both the Chicago Bears (1999-2003) and Cleveland Browns (2011-12) and has coached 14 seasons in college, including stops at Lake Forest College (2004), Western Michigan (2005), UCLA (2006-10), Syracuse (2013-15) and Eastern Michigan (2016-17). Bullough, who previously coached with Dantonio as a graduate assistant at Michigan State for two years (1997-98) under Nick Saban, served as defensive coordinator at UCLA for two seasons (2009-10) and Syracuse for three seasons (2013-15).
Bullough spent the past two seasons (2016-17) coaching the defensive line at Eastern Michigan. During his time at EMU, his players earned All-Mid-American Conference honors four times, including back-to-back first-team selections (Pat O’Connor in 2016, Maxx Crosby in 2017). Crosby ranked fourth in the MAC in sacks (11) and fifth in tackles for loss (16.5) in addition to posting 57 tackles. Jeremiah Harris, a third-team All-MAC choice in 2016, picked up second-team accolades in 2017 after tallying 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. Overall, the Eagles finished in the FBS top 40 in total defense during Bullough’s two seasons on staff (No. 35 in 2016, No. 39 in 2017), and ranked second in the MAC in total defense in 2017 (363.9 ypg).
While serving as the defensive coordinator at Syracuse, Bullough helped construct an Orange defense that ranked in the FBS top 35 in both rushing defense and total defense two of his three seasons. In 2013, SU finished No. 18 in the FBS in sacks (2.85 pg) while also ranking No. 24 in rushing defense and No. 33 in total defense en route to winning the Texas Bowl over Minnesota. In addition, SU was the only FBS team in the nation not to allow a 100-yard rusher in 2013. The Orange recorded 37 sacks, the third most in school history and the highest total for the Orange since 2001. The team finished with three All-ACC defensive selections, with all three players going on to careers in the NFL (defensive tackle Jay Bromley; safety Durell Eskridge; linebacker Marquis Spruill).
The 2014 Orange defense, which ranked No. 26 in total defense and No. 31 in rushing defense, held nine of its 12 opponents to less than its season average for total offense and was one of four FBS teams to surrender fewer than 10 rushing touchdowns (9).
Prior to rejoining the college ranks at Syracuse, Bullough coached the linebackers for two years (2011-12) with the Cleveland Browns, serving under former Spartan Pat Shurmur, who recently was named head coach of the New York Giants.
Bullough spent a total of five seasons (2006-10) on staff at UCLA, including three years as the linebackers coach (2006-08) and two years as the defensive coordinator (2009-10). While with the Bruins, Bullough coached in three bowl games and mentored three All-Americans. Defensive tackle Brian Price, a second-round NFL Draft selection, was named the 2009 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American after recording 23.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Safety Rahim Moore, also a second-round draft pick, earned first-team All-America honors in back-to-back seasons (2009-10) and led the nation in interceptions with 10 in 2009, while cornerback Alterraun Verner earned first-team All-America accolades in 2009 before getting chosen in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
In 2009, UCLA ranked among the FBS leaders in tackles for loss (No. 5), third-down defense (No. 18), scoring defense (No. 27), pass defense (No. 28) and total defense (No. 32). The 2007 Bruin defense ranked 14th nationally in rushing defense (109.2 ypg) and 29th in total defense (343.2 ypg), following up on the 2006 campaign in which the Bruins defense was tied for ninth nationally and led the Pac-10 in rushing defense.
Before UCLA, Bullough coached linebackers at Western Michigan (2005) and also linebackers and special teams at Lake Forest College (2004).
Bullough’s first full-time coaching position came in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, where he coached for five seasons from 1999-2003, serving as the assistant linebackers and special teams coach (1999-2001), assistant defensive line coach (2002) and assistant secondary coach (2003). During his time in Chicago, he worked with Pro Bowl selections Jerry Azumah, Glyn Milburn, Larry Whigham, and Brian Urlacher, who was the 2000 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Bullough worked alongside current Spartan co-offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Jim Bollman with the Bears in 1999 and 2000.
Bullough began his coaching career at his alma mater as a graduate assistant in 1997, working with the defensive backs alongside Dantonio and Saban. In his second year as a GA at MSU, Bullough coached with the offense.
A four-year letterwinner (1988-91) and 1992 graduate of Michigan State, Bullough finished his career ranked third in MSU history with 391 career tackles, which still stands at No. 6 all-time in the school record book. His 175 tackles as a senior in 1991 are the most by any Spartan in a single season and his 164 tackles as a junior in 1990 are tied for third most. Bullough’s 339 combined tackles in 1990 and 1991 are the most in a two-year span in school history.
Bullough earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 1991 and second-team accolades in 1990. He helped the Spartans win a share of the 1990 Big Ten title and earn a No. 16 final AP ranking following a victory over USC in the John Hancock Bowl. Bullough played in three bowl games with the Spartans (1989 Gator, 1989 Aloha, 1990 John Hancock) and was a redshirt on the 1987 Big Ten Championship and 1988 Rose Bowl Championship team.
Bullough was selected in the eighth round of the 1992 NFL Draft by Philadelphia. He spent one season with the Eagles (1992), three seasons with the Dolphins (1993-95) and one with the Colts (1996) during his five-year professional career.
A 1986 graduate of Orchard Park (N.Y.) High School, Bullough is a second generation NFL player and coach. His father, Hank, also played football for the Spartans (1952-54), and is a member of the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. A fifth round-draft choice of the Green Bay Packers, Hank enjoyed a 33-year coaching career, including 21 seasons in the NFL and 12 years in the collegiate ranks as an assistant coach at his alma mater. Chuck’s brother, Shane, was also a four-year letterwinner at MSU (1983-86) as a linebacker and was named a captain as a senior in 1986.
Bullough and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters, Chloe and Annika.
THE BULLOUGH FILE
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College – Graduate assistant at Michigan State (1997-98); linebackers and special teams coach at Lake Forest College (2004); linebackers coach at Western Michigan (2005); linebackers coach (2006-08) and defensive coordinator (2009-10) at UCLA; defensive coordinator at Syracuse (2013-15); defensive line coach at Eastern Michigan (2016-17). NFL – Linebackers coach (1996-2001), offensive line coach (2002) and defensive backs coach (2003) with Chicago Bears.
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in physical education and exercise science from Michigan State in 1992.
PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College – Four-year letterwinner as a linebacker at Michigan State (1988-91); NFL – Played five seasons with Philadelphia (1992), Miami (1993-95) and Indianapolis (1996).
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Player – 1989 Gator Bowl, 1989 Aloha Bowl, 1990 John Hancock Bowl. Coach – 1997 Aloha Bowl, 2006 Emerald Bowl, 2007 Las Vegas Bowl, 2009 EagleBank Bowl, 2013 Texas Bowl, 2016 Bahamas Bowl.
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