EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker has named Diron Reynolds as the program’s defensive line coach.
Reynolds, who has more than 25 years of coaching experience at both the NFL and Power 5 levels, previously spent the last seven seasons (2016-22) as defensive line coach at Stanford. He has coached multiple championship teams, including winning a Super Bowl ring with the Colts, and worked with numerous All-Americans, NFL draft picks, and All-Pro players.
“I’ve known Diron Reynolds for more than 15 years – he’s one of the best coaches in the business,” said Tucker. “He has an impressive pedigree, having worked for some of the best coaches in all of football including Tony Dungy, Leslie Frazier, David Shaw and Jim Caldwell, and coaching in both the Super Bowl and the College Football Playoffs. He’s also developed players at the highest level, from mentoring future NFL draft picks to working day-to-day with pro bowlers in the NFL. Diron is a family man of great character who will tirelessly guide and motivate our players on and off the field. I’m thrilled with this attitude and can’t wait to work with him.”
While at Stanford, Reynolds coached four NFL draft picks on the defensive line, including Solomon Thomas, who was drafted 3rd overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 as the best defensive player in school history. Thomas also won the Pac-12’s Morris Trophy, awarded to the league’s top lineman, and received All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America (second team), USA TODAY (second team), and Associated Press (third team). ).
Reynolds taught defensive tackle to Harrison Phillips throughout his career as a cardinal, and the All-American was drafted 96th overall by the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Phillips led Stanford in tackles with 103, the highest of any defender in the nation. Among those 103 tackles were the team’s top 17 for losses and 7.5 sacks, as well as two forced fumbles. He was selected for the All-America second team by the Football Writers Association of America, and the Associated Press selected him for the All-America third team. Phillips just wrapped up his fifth season in the NFL.
Reynolds also mentored defensive end Casey Toohill (7th round 2020, #233 overall, Eagles) and defensive end Thomas Booker (5th round 2022, #150 overall, Texans) at Palo Alto.
After originally spending a season as a defensive assistant at Stanford in 2014, Reynolds went to Oklahoma in 2015 to coach the Big 12 champion Sooners before returning to the Cardinal in 2016. In his only season at Norman, Reynolds helped OU earn a berth in the College Football Playoff while coaching All-Big 12 first-team defenseman Charles Tapper, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys would.
Reynolds’ coaching résumé includes more than a decade of coaching in the NFL with the Colts (2002-06), Dolphins (2007), and Vikings (2009-13).
His most recent NFL experience was with the Vikings under the tutelage of Leslie Frazier. Reynolds spent five seasons (2009-13) as an assistant defensive line coach at Minnesota, working with All-Pro defensemen Jared Allen and Nick Williams, and his unit helped the Vikings lead the 2011 50-player NFL.
Reynolds spent the 2007 season with the Miami Dolphins as defensive line coach, working with NFL Hall of Famer Jason Taylor, who had 11 sacks and 16 TFLs that season, to earn Pro Bowl honors for the sixth time of his career.
Reynolds spent the last five seasons coaching at Indianapolis as a member of Tony Dungy’s coaching staff, where he served as defensive quality control coach when the Colts won Super Bowl XLI against the Bears. Reynolds worked alongside Colts defensive line coach John Teerlinck as the team made the NFL playoffs each season during Reynolds’ five-year tenure at Indianapolis (2002-06). He also worked with seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Freeney with the Colts.
Before coaching in the NFL, Reynolds was a defensive tackles coach in Indiana in 2001. His first college coaching experience was at his alma mater, Wake Forest, where he served as a graduate assistant from 1997-98 and as an outside linebackers coach from 1999-2000.
Reynolds began his coaching career in 1995 at Brookland-Cayce High School, where he served as an assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach.
He earned four letters as a linebacker and special teams contributor at Wake Forest from 1990-1993, graduating in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He also received a master’s degree in liberal studies from Wake Forest in 1999.
Reynolds, originally from Aiken, South Carolina, is married to Emon and the couple have four children.
The Diron Reynolds file
FAMILY: Wife, Emon and four children.
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: Assistant Coach at Brookland-Cayce High School (1995-1996); Graduate Assistant (Defense) at Wake Forest (1997-98); Outside Linebackers Coach at Wake Forest (1999-2000); defensive tackle coach in Indiana (2001); Defensive Quality Control Indianapolis Colts (2002-06); defensive coach with Miami Dolphins (2007); Assistant defensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings (2009-13); Defense Assistant at Stanford (2014); Oklahoma defensive line coach (2015); Defensive coach at Stanford (2016-22).
EDUCATION: BA in Communications from Wake Forest in 1994; Masters degree in Liberal Studies from Wake Forest in 1999.
GAME EXPERIENCE: Four-year letterwinner (1990-93) as a linebacker at Wake Forest.
POST-SEASON EXPERIENCE: Player – 1992 Independence Bowl. Coach – 1999 Aloha Bowl, 2002 NFL Playoffs (Wild Card), 2003 NFL Playoffs (AFC Championship Game), 2004 NFL Playoffs (AFC Divisional Round), 2005 NFL Playoffs (AFC Divisional Round), Super Bowl XLI (2006 season), 2009 NFL Playoffs (NFC Championship Game), 2012 NFL Playoffs (Wild Card), 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinals at Orange Bowl, 2016 Sun Bowl, 2017 Alamo Bowl, 2018 Sun Bowl.
NFL DRAFT PICKS THAT WILL BE TESTED IN COLLEGE:
DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma (4th round 2016, #101 overall, Cowboys)
DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford (first round 2017, #3 overall, 49ers)
DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford (3rd round 2018, #96 overall, Bills)
DE Casey Toohill, Stanford (7th Round 2020, #233 overall, Eagles)
DE Thomas Booker, Stanford (5th round 2022, #150 overall, Texans)
ALL-AMERICAN WORN: DL Solomon Thomas (2016, Stanford), DT Harrison Phillips (2017, Stanford)
COACHED FIRST-TEAM ALL-PROS: DE Jared Allen (Vikings, 2009, 2011), DT Kevin Williams (Vikings, 2009), DE Dwight Freeney (Colts, 2004, 2005)
PRO BOWLER TRAINED: DE Jared Allen (Vikings, 2009, 2011, 2012), Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist; DT Kevin Williams (Vikings, 2009, 2010); EN Jason Taylor (Dolphins, 2007), Pro Football Hall of Fame; EN Dwight Freeney (Colts, 2003, 2004, 2005)