Michigan State's junior cornerback becomes the highest-drafted cornerback in Minnesota franchise history.
No. 4 Spartans will face No. 5 Stanford in the 2014 Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2014 in Pasadena, Calif.
With a greater emphasis on providing "live" game-like situations in spring practice, MSU coaches expect the quarterback to produce positive yardage when plays breakdown this fall.
MSU concludes spring practices with the annual Green-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 20.
Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi promoted to assistant head coach; Dave Warner promoted to co-offensive coordinator; newly hired Jim Bollman named co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach; running backs coach Brad Salem to coach quarterbacks.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio likes his team's resilience.
Now it's time to develop a knockout punch.
Connor Cook threw three touchdown passes and Nick Hill ran for two scores Saturday, but No. 8 Michigan State still needed a late interception return for a touchdown to hold on 45-31 at Purdue
Brad Salem, a former head coach at NCAA Division II Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is in his sixth year on the coaching staff at Michigan State and his third as quarterbacks coach. He is also in his fifth year as the program's recruiting coordinator.
Salem has been instrumental in the development of Connor Cook, who has won 23 of the 26 games he has started all while climbing up the charts in Michigan State's record book. A year after winning the starting quarterback job and being named the Big Ten Championship Game Most Outstanding Player and the Rose Bowl Game Offensive MVP, Cook improved on his numbers from his sophomore season, throwing for a career-best 3,214 yards as a junior in 2014 while directing the nation's No. 7 scoring offense (43.0 ppg). He led the Big Ten in passing (247.2 ypg.), passing yards and passing yards per completion (15.2), and also ranked among the conference leaders in passing efficiency (second with 149.4 rating), touchdown passes (second with 24) and total offense (third with 253.4 ypg.). In addition, those numbers ranked among the best in the NCAA FBS: second in yards per completion, 19th in passing efficiency and 27th in touchdown passes and passing yards. His 24 touchdown passes also represented a career high and were second most in an MSU single season.
A second-team All-Big Ten selection for the second year in a row, Cook conducted the No. 1 offense in school history in 2014, as the Spartans set numerous program records, including points (559), scoring average (43.0 ppg.), offensive touchdowns (70), rushing touchdowns (44), total offense (6,510 yards; 500.8 ypg.) and rushing yards (3,057). Cook, who was named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award and the Maxwell Award, tied a school record by throwing for a touchdown pass in 16 consecutive games and enters his senior season ranked among MSU's Top 10 all-time leaders in touchdown passes (third with 47), 300-yard passing games (third with six), 200-yard passing games (tied for third with 18), passing efficiency (third at 141.5 rating), total offense (fourth with 6,216 yards), completions (seventh with 444), passing attempts (eighth with 762) and completion percentage (.583).
Cook, who led MSU's 20-point, fourth-quarter rally over Baylor in the 2015 Cotton Bowl, has guided the Spartans to three straight fourth-quarter comebacks in bowl games (2014 Rose Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl). He is one of just two Spartan quarterbacks, along with Dan Enos, to win two bowl games as the starting quarterback (2014 Rose, 2015 Cotton). Cook took over the starting role in 2013 against South Florida in Week 2 and proceeded to go 12-1 as the starter and finish his sophomore year ranked among MSU's single-season leaders in passing touchdowns (second with 22), total offense (fourth with 2,831 yards), pass attempts (fourth with 380), passing yards (fifth with 2,755) and pass completions (sixth with 223). His progress was on full display in the final two games of the season. Cook took home Most Outstanding Player honors at the Big Ten Championship Game after completing 24-of-40 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns against No. 2 Ohio State, and followed that effort by being named the Rose Bowl Offensive MVP, as he threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns in the win over No. 5 Stanford. Cook was a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches.
In his role as recruiting coordinator, Salem has helped put together back-to-back Top 25 classes (2014: No. 19 Scout; No. 22 Rivals; 2015: No. 18 Scout; No. 22 Rivals).
Salem has been either an offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach for nine seasons as a college assistant. He spent his first three seasons at Michigan State (2010-12) coaching the running backs.
Salem mentored one of the most productive running backs in Spartan history, Le'Veon Bell, from 2010-12. Bell had a career year in 2012, winning the Big Ten rushing title and ranking third in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, averaging 137.9 yards per game. Named a first-team All-American by CollegeFootballNews.com, Bell compiled 1,793 rushing yards, the second-highest single-season total in MSU history. Bell was selected in the second round of the 2013 National Football League Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers and was named the Steelers Rookie of the Year. In 2014, he led the AFC in rushing (1,361 yards) and set the Pittsburgh single-season record for most yards from scrimmage (2,215) while being selected a first-team All-Pro.
Salem coached one of the most talented backfields in the Big Ten in 2011, as junior Edwin Baker and Bell combined for 1,613 rushing yards (115.2 yards per game) - the second most of any running back duo in the conference - to go along with 18 rushing touchdowns. After earning Big Ten All-Freshman honors in 2010, Bell had a breakout season as a sophomore, leading the team in rushing touchdowns (13) and rushing (948 yards; 67.7 ypg.); those marks ranked fifth and eighth in the Big Ten, respectively. A first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media as a sophomore, Baker led MSU with a season-high 167 yards rushing in the Spartans' fourth straight win over Michigan in 2011. He finished the season with 665 rushing yards (47.5 ypg.) and closed his career ranked among MSU's all-time leaders in rushing yards (12th with 2,293) and carries (13th with 462). Baker was selected in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and recently finished his third season in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints.
Under Salem's direction in 2010, Michigan State's running backs improved their totals from 2009. The resurgent running game was led by Baker, who became just the sixth sophomore in MSU history to reach the 1,000-yard milestone as he compiled 1,201 rushing yards. A first-team All-Big Ten honoree by the media, Baker ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 30th nationally in rushing, averaging 92.4 ypg. In addition, he led the team and ranked seventh in the conference with 13 rushing TDs.
Baker wasn't only one making noise in the backfield in 2010. Bell exploded onto the scene in the first half of the season, collecting 549 yards and eight rushing touchdowns, including a 141-yard effort in the season opener against Western Michigan, the most rushing yards ever by a Spartan in their collegiate debut. Bell closed his first season with 605 yards rushing and was named to the ESPN.com and Rivals.com All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
In five seasons (2005-09) as head coach at Augustana College, Salem compiled a 31-26 record.
Salem led Augustana College to back-to-back 8-4 records and consecutive trips to the Mineral Water Bowl in 2008-09. The eight wins matched the school single-season record. In its first two seasons as members of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, Augustana finished fourth and tied for third, respectively, in the final standings and had 10 players earn South Division first-team all-conference honors.
After getting off to a 3-0 start in 2009, the Vikings made their first appearance in the American Football Coaches Association Division II Top 25 since 1989. Augustana finished fifth in the NSIC in total offense that season, averaging 400.9 yards per game.
In 2008, Augustana won six of its last eight games, including a 37-16 victory over Missouri Western State in the Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, as the Vikings rushed for 281 yards and five touchdowns against the Griffons. Augustana ranked among the NSIC leaders in rushing offense (third at 203.7 ypg.), scoring offense (third at 30.8 points per game) and total offense (fourth at 379.7 ypg.) in 2008.
In his first season as head coach in 2005, Salem guided Augustana to a 6-5 record - the program's first winning season in three years. Prior to being promoted to head coach, he spent two seasons as an assistant coach under Jim Heinitz, serving as quarterbacks coach in 2003 and offensive coordinator in 2004.
Before returning to his alma mater in 2003, Salem coached the quarterbacks at O'Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, during the 2002 season.
He previously spent three years as passing game and recruiting coordinator at South Dakota (1999-2001) and two seasons as offensive and recruiting coordinator at Luther College (1997-98) in Decorah, Iowa.
In 1996, Salem filled the role of defensive coordinator at Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan. From 1994-95, he served as a graduate assistant under George Perles and Nick Saban at Michigan State, working with the quarterbacks and wide receivers.
A native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Salem launched his coaching career in the European Professional League in Paris, France, where he was the offensive coordinator for Robinson Sphinx in the spring of 1993. That fall, he worked with the defensive backs as a student coach at Augustana.
Salem began his collegiate playing career as a quarterback at Northern Arizona in 1988-89 before transferring to Augustana where he played quarterback and wide receiver for Coach Heinitz from 1990-92. He earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Augustana in 1992 and his master's degree in athletic administration from Michigan State in 1996.
Salem shares his love of coaching football with his father Joe, former head coach at South Dakota (1966-74), Northern Arizona (1975-78) and Minnesota (1979-83); as well as his older brother Tim, tight ends coach for Pittsburgh; and his twin brother Brent, offensive coordinator at O'Gorman High School.
Salem and his wife Christina have two sons, Elijah and Jeremiah.
THE SALEM FILE
YEARS AT MICHIGAN STATE: Sixth. Joined staff on Feb. 19, 2010, from Augustana (S.D.) College.
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College - Graduate assistant coach at Michigan State (1994-95); offensive and recruiting coordinator at Luther (Iowa) College (1997-98); passing game and recruiting coordinator at South Dakota (1999-2001); quarterbacks coach at Augustana College (2003); offensive coordinator at Augustana College (2004); head coach at Augustana College (2005-09).
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in mathematics from Augustana College in 1992; master's degree in athletic administration from Michigan State in 1996.
PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College - Quarterback at Northern Arizona (1988-89); quarterback and wide receiver at Augustana (1990-92).
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Coach - 1995 Independence Bowl, 2008 Mineral Water Bowl, 2009 Mineral Water Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 2014 Rose Bowl, 2015 Cotton Bowl.