Late last week, Joe Judge put the finishing touches on his 20-man coaching staff. The rookie head coach may have to make an alteration, as one of his defensive assistants could be headed back to college.

Bret Bielema, hired by Judge as the Giants outside linebackers coach and senior defensive assistant, has a long history of playing and coaching in the Big Ten and that might be a draw for him to return to that prestigious conference, as there is a head-coaching opening at Michigan State.

Bielema, 50, has “definite interest,” according to the Detroit Free Press. The Michigan State job opened up last Tuesday when Mark Dantonio retired after 13 seasons as head coach of the Spartans.

A search for a replacement began with Luke Fickell, but he is staying at Cincinnati.

Bielema played at Iowa and went 68-24 in seven seasons at Wisconsin, leading the Badgers to three straight Big Ten titles. He was less successful (29-34) in his five years at Arkansas.

Brett Bielema
Brett Bielema at ArkansasGetty Images

“I think Bret brings a great personality to the group, brings a great perspective on how he sees the game,” Judge said. “He’s coached the front for some time, he’s coordinated defenses at a high level. Players respond to Bret in a positive way. He has a great way of teaching, he has a great way of getting the guys motivated, and he gets the most out of his players. He brings experience from the NFL, as well as college, so not only does he understand what’s going on in the league now, he understands what the players coming from college are used to and how to better translate the trends they’re going to see.”

Judge replaced Pat Shurmur, who was fired two years into his five-year deal. Shurmur, hired as the offensive coordinator for the Broncos, played at Michigan State and is also considered a candidate for the Spartans’ opening.