Dantonio Announces Restructuring of Football Staff
Mark Staten promoted to assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator; Sheldon White named director of player personnel.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio announced on Tuesday the promotion of Mark Staten to assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator and Sheldon White as the director of player personnel.
Staten, who is entering his 11th season at Michigan State and his 14th as a full-time assistant under Dantonio, has been the program’s offensive line coach since 2011. He previously served as the program’s recruiting coordinator and tight ends/tackles coach from 2007-10. In addition to his new duties, Staten will remain the offensive line coach.
Staten's role in developing the top offensive lines in the coaching tenure of Dantonio helped pave the way to the winningest three-year stretch in school history (36-5 record) from 2013-15 that included two Big Ten Championships (2013, 2015), wins in the 2014 Rose Bowl and 2015 Cotton Bowl, and a berth in the 2015 College Football Playoff. Since his arrival in 2007, his players have garnered first-team All-America honors three times, Freshman All-America accolades five times, and All-Big Ten recognition 23 times.
“Mark has been on my staff for 14 years, including the past 11 at Michigan State,” said Dantonio. “He has provided stability and consistency to our program and has displayed incredible growth throughout his time at MSU. He has performed a number of different roles and has gone above and beyond with every task he has been given. Mark also has built positive relationships with our players since he started here. He has a bright future ahead of him as he continues his development as a coach.
“As recruiting coordinator during his first four years, Mark helped bring in some the most important classes we’ve had in the progression of our program, and he will continue to bring that same energy and passion to lead the next great group of recruiting classes to Michigan State.”
White, who worked for 19 years in the front office with the Detroit Lions, including Vice President of Pro Personnel for six years and the role of interim general manager in 2015, was hired last July as a program consultant.
As director of player personnel, White’s primary responsibilities will include coordinating the evaluation of all current players on the active roster, providing detailed evaluations to the coaching staff. He will also play a lead role in organizing the recruiting efforts of the program.
“In just one year on our staff, Sheldon has shown why he was so successful working up the ranks in the NFL, including his position as general manager,” said Dantonio. “He’s extremely organized and has great attention to detail. His wealth of knowledge and experience at the next level has been beneficial to everyone in the building. He brings credibility from an NFL perspective, from his time as a player to a scout to the front office.
“Sheldon will serve as an expert resource for our players in their development here and toward their drive to reach the NFL. He relates well with people, which will help in all facets of the program, from our current players and staff to recruiting.”
Sheldon White, who worked for 19 years in the front office with the Detroit Lions, including Vice President of Pro Personnel for six years and the role of interim general manager in 2015, was hired last July as a program consultant.
In addition, Dantonio announced four full-time hirings to his staff. Cody Cox has been named assistant director of football operations/summer camps and Steve Gardiner has been named a defensive analyst. In the newly formed creative department in the football technology office, Justin Martin has transitioned roles to creative director, while Carter Ellwood (director of creative video) and Joe Robbins (lead graphic designer) have been added to the full-time staff.
Cox has spent the past three seasons as an operations intern after previously working in the office as a student assistant. He has his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Michigan State.
A four-year letterwinner under Dantonio at MSU from 2009-12, Gardiner has been at MSU as a graduate assistant since 2014. He helped coach the defensive line in 2015-16 and the running backs in 2014, along with special teams all three years.
MORE ON Mark Staten:
Staten, who has a mix of professional playing experience along with an extensive coaching background, is in his 11th year on the coaching staff at Michigan State and his seventh as the offensive line coach.
Staten's role in developing the top offensive lines in the coaching tenure of Mark Dantonio helped pave the way to the winningest three-year stretch in school history (36-5 record) from 2013-15 that included two Big Ten Championships (2013, 2015), wins in the 2014 Rose Bowl and 2015 Cotton Bowl, and a berth in the 2015 College Football Playoff. Since his arrival in 2007, his players have garnered first-team All-America honors three times, Freshman All-America accolades five times, and All-Big Ten recognition 23 times.
In 2015, the Spartans featured two first-team All-Americans, in center Jack Allen and left tackle Jack Conklin. The duo also earned first-team All-Big Ten accolades to become the first Spartan tandem to land on the All-Big Ten First Team in the same season since 1990. Allen was a Rimington Trophy finalist (nation's most outstanding center) for the second consecutive year and became just the third offensive lineman in school history to garner first-team All-America honors twice. Conklin was the first Spartan offensive tackle to achieve first-team All-America status since Flozell Adams in 1997.
Four of MSU's five starters picked up All-Big Ten recognition during MSU's run to a Big Ten Championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff, as sophomore guard Brian Allen received second-team honors and senior guard Donavon Clark landed on the third team. Allen was named third-team All-Big Ten as a junior in 2016.
The Spartan offensive line was named one of six finalists for the 2015 Joe Moore Award for the Most Outstanding Offensive Line Unit in College Football. Their determination was on full display in the Big Ten Championship Game against No. 4 Iowa, as the Spartans went on a game-winning 22-play, 82-yard drive in nine minutes and four seconds during the fourth quarter; the drive featured 17 rushing attempts, including the last 12 plays in a row, as LJ Scott clinched the Big Ten title with a 1-yard run with 27 seconds remaining.
Conklin was selected No. 8 overall in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, becoming the first Spartan offensive lineman to be picked in the first round since Tony Mandarich in 1989 (No. 2 overall by Green Bay). Conklin was the highest drafted Spartan in the Dantonio era and highest overall since wide receiver Charles Rogers (No. 2) in 2003. Conklin proved his worth with an outstanding rookie season, as he was named first-team AP All-Pro.
In addition, Clark was chosen in the seventh round by San Diego, and Allen signed a free-agent deal with New Orleans and made the active roster late in the season. It marked the first time Michigan State had two offensive linemen selected in the same draft (Conklin, Clark) since 1998.
In 2014, the Spartans used a versatile eight-man playing rotation, which used five different starting lineups, to help clear the way for the best offensive attack in school history. Among the numerous records set, the Spartans rushed for the most yards (3,057) and touchdowns (44) in program history, and averaged 235.2 rushing yards per game, which ranked No. 19 in the NCAA Football Subdivision and was MSU's highest single-season average since 2005.
In 2013, a versatile group which saw as many as eight linemen in the playing rotation was one of the main reasons why Michigan State continued to improve throughout the year on the offensive side of the ball in its Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship season. All five starters received postseason recognition, including left guard Blake Treadwell (second-team All-Big Ten, coaches and media), center Jack Allen (second-team All-Big Ten, media), right tackle Fou Fonoti (honorable mention All-Big Ten), right guard Dan France (honorable mention All-Big Ten) and Conklin (first-team Freshman All-American by Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News and CollegeFootballNews.com).
In his first stint as recruiting coordinator, Staten helped put together a 2009 recruiting class that analysts ranked among the nation's Top 25 (MaxPreps/Tom Lemming No. 12, PrepStar No. 15, Rivals.com No. 17 and Scouts, Inc. No. 21). The Spartans followed that effort with another stellar class in 2010 that was ranked among the nation's Top 30 (MaxPreps/Tom Lemming No. 22, Rivals.com No. 29).
Following the 2006 regular season, Staten was one of eight assistant coaches to follow head coach Mark Dantonio from Cincinnati to East Lansing. Staten landed his first full-time coaching position on Dantonio's Cincinnati staff in 2004.
A four-year starter at defensive tackle at Miami-Ohio, Staten earned All-Mid-American Conference honors as a senior. He made the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad as a free agent in 1993 before being added to the New England Patriots' roster for the conclusion of the 1993 season as well as part of the 1994 campaign. Staten was drafted by the World Football League's Barcelona Dragons in 1995, but sustained a career-ending knee injury.
He graduated cum laude from Miami-Ohio in 2001, with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
MORE ON Sheldon White:
Before arriving to Michigan State as a program consultant in July 2016, White previously spent 19 seasons with the Detroit Lions. He was promoted to Vice President of Pro Personnel in 2009 and served as the interim general manager in 2015.
White played defensive back for six NFL seasons with the New York Giants (1988-89), Detroit Lions (1990-1992) and Cincinnati Bengals (1993).
Following retirement from his playing career, White returned to the Lions in 1997 as a scout for three seasons before becoming Director of Pro Personnel in 2000.
In 2004, White completed the NFL’s career development program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and was promoted to Vice President of Pro Personnel with Detroit in 2009.
Prior to joining the Lions, White was the wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Miami-Ohio, from 1994-1996.
A four-year starter at cornerback for the RedHawks from 1984-87, White earned first-team All-MAC and honorable mention All-America honors his senior season and served as a key contributor to the school’s MAC title in 1986. In 1988, White was selected by the New York Giants in the third round of the NFL Draft with the 62nd overall pick.
In 2014, White was inducted into Miami University’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He graduated from Miami-Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in finance.