Profiling the Michigan State Football Assistant Coaches: WR Coach Terrence Samuel

Publish date:


Samuel is an excellent teacher and will be a great compliment to the MSU staff.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Samuel is an excellent teacher and will be a great compliment to the MSU staff. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.


The newest member of the Spartan coaching staff, Terrence Samuel, brings Big Ten playing experience and thirteen years of coaching experience to the table. A tireless worker and great leader, Samuel is poised to become the latest stellar member of Mark Dantonio’s coaching staff.

           A four year letterman at wide receiver for the Purdue Boilermakers, Samuel knows the Big Ten well. Coach Dantonio cites this as a big plus: "His playing experience in the Big Ten certainly is a big positive as well. Terrence is familiar with the conference, and he can draw upon his experiences as a student-athlete at Purdue and relay those to our current players.” Samuel is clearly happy to be back in the Big Ten: “It truly feels like I'm back home.” Though he has coached at various other places, “There is nothing like the Big Ten,” said Samuel. “For me when I was coming up, the only thing was the Rose Bowl. I want to get a chance to experience that. I want to make sure that… we go there in the time that I’m here.”

           Before he could be a coach for a big-time school in the Big Ten, Samuel had to work his way up. His coaching career started at little-known Nebraska-Omaha. He started off as a graduate assistant for the Mavericks in 1998. After the 2000 season, he left Nebraska-Omaha for the University of Arizona to be a graduate assistant for then head coach John Mackovic. After staying at Arizona for two seasons, he returned to Nebraska-Omaha for the 2003 season. While serving as the team’s defensive backs coach for the next two years, he picked up a great deal of knowledge. A whole new world was opened to him, as he learned a lot about the wide receiver position by coaching on the opposite side of the ball. Samuel suggests that all prospective football coaches should coach from the other side of the ball, as he did, in order to learn even more about their natural position.

           In 2005, Samuel expanded his horizons even further when he became Nebraska-Omaha’s linebackers and special teams coach. As linebackers coach, he mentored current NFL linebacker Kenny Onatolu. After his second three year stint for the Mavericks, Samuel joined Southeast Missouri State’s coaching staff as its wide receivers coach. He lasted only one year there before he rejoined the Mavericks as the team’s offensive coordinator. After the 2007 season, Nebraska-Omaha lost Samuel for good. Samuel headed to another little known college: North Dakota State. He spent two seasons there (2008 and 2009) as the team’s wide receivers coach. In 2010, the wide receivers coach joined former Michigan State assistant coach Dan Enos at Central Michigan. Under Enos, Samuel mentored wide out Cody Wilson, who set numerous Central Michigan individual season records.

           In February of 2011, the former Big Ten wide receiver rejoined his home conference as the wide receivers coach for the Spartans. Samuel has big shoes to fill, as he is replacing Don Treadwell. However, with what Dantonio calls “well-rounded football knowledge” at his disposal, Samuel should do a fine job. Already he has many Spartan fans excited, as Samuel brings a bit of old school football to the table. He is a firm believer that“Receivers must be playmakers: turn into a running back once you have the ball!” Samuel insists that his players should not be afraid of contact. Another key point that he preaches is to make the opposing defensive back uncomfortable. How does one go about doing that? Samuel explains: “How you attack a DB and make him uncomfortable is to get into the phone booth with him.” He also plans to draw on his experience as a defensive backs coach to make his players better: “We want to try to get these guys to understand a defensive back and the techniques they’re using, the coverage that they’re using, and try to use it against him.” In the end, it all comes down to one thing- efficiency: “And that’s trying to be being efficient, understanding that every step is important.” Most importantly, Samuel wants his players to instill fear in the defensive backs across from them: “You’re trying to get this DB to fear all three directions [left , right, and vertical], and that way he hesitates. That hesitation gives us separation.”

           Samuel is excited to have a veteran core of wide receivers. This means that he will be able to help his players move beyond the basics: “A veteran core means hopefully you get to move on to the upper echelon of the concepts.” Already, the newest member of the Spartan coaching staff has confidence in his men: “They’re a bunch of eager guys,” Samuel stated. “I think I have a lot of critical thinkers at my position who want to get better.” With players like Keyshawn Martin, B.J. Cunningham, Keith Nichol, Bennie Fowler, and Tony Lippett at the wide receiver position, Samuel has plenty of talent to work with.

           Samuel is also looking forward to working with Coach Dantonio: “He’s legendary,” said Samuel. “Being able to work with somebody like that is a dream for anyone in this profession.” Dantonio is glad to have him too: “We're excited to have Terrence on board, and we welcome him, his wife Jaclyn and his children into the MSU community,” Coach said. Above all, Samuel is ready to make Spartan Nation proud. “I’ll go and do whatever I can to make sure this program flourishes,” Samuel promises.