Mark Dantonio retires as the Michigan State head coach. Who are the possible candidates to replace him?
It was a great run for Michigan State’s all-time winningest head football coach.
Give Mark Dantonio this – his timing to get out is about right.
About to turn 64 in a few weeks, Dantonio leaves to apparently spend more time with his family while moving into an administrative job.
He might not be the greatest head coach in the program’s history – Duffy Daugherty and Clarence Munn won national championships, at least according to some services – but this year he became MSU’s winningest football coach, and he certainly had a few years of tremendous success during a nasty time in the Big Ten.
He’s leaving after cashing out with a sweet pay day, and …
He’s also leaving just as these allegations came out …
He’s also coming off of two relatively disappointing 7-6 seasons. However, he’s closing out with just two losing campaigns in his 13 years with three Big Ten championships, a Rose Bowl win, a trip to the College Football Playoff, six double-digit win seasons, and a run of six bowl wins in his last eight tries after starting out 0-4 in the post-season in East Lansing.
He also brought stability to the football program.
For a long run, MSU had a habit of slightly underachieving, struggling in a few bad losses, and without a whole lot success after Nick Saban took off for LSU.
Bobby Williams, Morris Watts, and John L. Smith combined to go 39-45 in the seven years before Dantonio stepped in. Before Dantonio, Michigan State hadn’t won the Big Ten title – or a piece it – since 1990, and hadn’t won a Rose Bowl since the 1987 season.
He didn’t get the superstar talent that Ohio State or Michigan pulled in, but he still made Michigan State a major Big Ten player as one of the most well-coached teams year-in-and-year-out.
So now what?
For Michigan State, the timing is about as good as it gets. There’s no bowl to prepare for, the recruiting season is basically done, and it’s well before spring football. However, a new guy has to be found fast.
This is a terrific opportunity and job, but when it comes to what the new coach has to deal with, Ohio State is Ohio State, Penn State is still fantastic, and Michigan is better than it gets credit for – and that’s just in the Big Ten East.
Even so, the place should have its pick of a whole slew of coaching candidates, even now with the recruiting season wrapping up.
Here are five Michigan State coaching candidates who athletic director Bill Beckman will at least need to think about.