Mark Dantonio Named Michigan State's 24th Head Football Coach
Nov. 27, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Mark Dantonio, who has coached Cincinnati for the past three seasons and was a former assistant coach at Michigan State for six years, has been named Michigan State University's 24th head football coach. Dantonio was formally introduced at a noon press conference on Monday, Nov. 27 in the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center auditorium.
The 50-year old Dantonio established himself as one of the nation's up-and-coming coaches during his three-year tenure at Cincinnati. This season, Dantonio led the Bearcats to a 7-5 overall record and a 4-3 BIG EAST mark, making Cincinnati bowl eligible for the second time in three years. Dantonio accomplished the feat against the second-toughest schedule in the country, as UC's opponents compiled a 69-42 record. His Bearcats upset then-No. 7 Rutgers, 30-11, on Nov. 18, handing the Scarlet Knights their first loss of the season and marking the highest-ranked opponent ever defeated by UC.
Highly respected as one of the top defensive coaches in the country, Dantonio's Bearcats rank 21st nationally in tackles for loss, 23rd in pass efficiency defense, 27th in rushing defense and 36th in total defense in the latest NCAA statistics.
Dantonio compiled an 18-17 overall record in his three years at Cincinnati and led the program in its transition to the BIG EAST Conference. He became the first head coach in 23 years to direct a team to a winning season in his first year at UC. The Bearcats' went 7-5 in 2004, including a 5-3 mark in Conference USA to finish second in the league standings, and defeated Marshall in the Fort Worth Bowl.
In his first two seasons at Cincinnati, 15 of Dantonio's players earned all-conference honors and 25 received academic all-conference recognition.
Prior to his appointment at Cincinnati, Dantonio served as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State for three seasons, where his defensive unit became known as one of the stingiest in the country. During the Buckeyes' 2002 National Championship season, OSU ranked second nationally in scoring defense and third in rushing defense, and the following year, his unit ranked No. 1 in the country in rushing defense and ninth in total defense, sparking the Buckeyes to an 11-2 mark and a No. 4 national ranking.
Dantonio is familiar with East Lansing, as he spent six seasons (1995-2000) as Michigan State's secondary coach, including associate head coach duties in 2000. He contributed to Michigan State's successful 1999 season, during which the Spartans went 10-2, won the Florida Citrus Bowl, led the Big Ten in total defense and ranked No. 7 in the final polls.
A Zanesville, Ohio, native with Midwest ties, Dantonio has 24 years of collegiate coaching experience, and has coached in 10 bowl games. He has worked for some of the top coaches in the game, including Nick Saban, Jim Tressel and Earle Bruce.
Here's a closer look at Dantonio's tenure at Cincinnati:
The 2006 Cincinnati Bearcats went 7-5 overall and 4-3 in the BIG EAST Conference against the nation's second-toughest schedule. Four of UC's five losses came to teams ranked in the current top 15 (No. 1 Ohio State, No. 6 Louisville, No. 14 Virginia Tech, No. 15 West Virginia). The Bearcats produced arguably the greatest victory in school history with a 30-11 victory over then-No. 7 Rutgers on Nov. 18, marking the highest-ranked opponent ever defeated by UC.
Defense was the strong suit for the Bearcats this season, as Cincinnati ranked among the national leaders in tackles for loss (No. 21 at 6.8 per game), pass efficiency defense (No. 23 at 109.30 rating), rushing defense (No. 27 at 107.5 ypg) and total defense (No. 36 at 304.3 ypg.). UC held seven of its 12 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing, highlighted by performances of 36 yards each in back-to-back games vs. Miami (Ohio) and Akron. In the win over Rutgers, Cincinnati held the nation's No. 15 rushing offense to a season-low 50 yards on the ground, and held the nation's No. 3 rusher, Ray Rice, to a season-low 54 yards. Middle linebacker Kevin McCullough leads the team in tackles and ranks fifth in the BIG EAST and 48th nationally with 13.5 tackles for loss. Defensive end Trevor Anderson ranks sixth in the BIG EAST and 56th nationally in tackles for loss (13.0) and is ninth in the BIG EAST in sacks (6.0).
In 2005, Dantonio brought together one of the nation's youngest teams, with the Bearcats starting as many as five first-year freshman on defense and posted a competitive 4-7 record in the program's first season in the BIG EAST. Two defensive players, Mike Mickens and Corey Smith, earned second-team All-BIG EAST accolades.
Dantonio became only the second head coach in Cincinnati history (along with Sid Gillman) to take the Bearcats to a bowl game in his first season in 2004. UC topped Marshall, 32-14, in the Fort Worth Bowl to cap a 7-5 season. The Bearcats tied for second in the Conference USA standings with a 5-3 league mark. The secondary ranked 26th in the nation and first in C-USA in pass defense. The Bearcats also ranked second in C-USA in total defense and third in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. Offensively, quarterback Gino Guidugli ranked 15th in the country in passing efficiency (146.48 rating) and directed the Bearcats to the 30th-ranked offense in the nation. Three players were chosen in the 2005 NFL Draft (defensive end Trent Cole, linebacker Tyjuan Hagler and cornerback Daven Holly).
While serving as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State, Dantonio's defense guided the Buckeyes to a 32-6 mark in his three seasons in Columbus. Ohio State's defense was the second toughest against the run in 2003, allowing 62.3 yards per game, and was ranked No. 10 in total defense and No. 16 in scoring defense. Those efforts helped the Buckeyes rank No. 4 in the final polls. Dantonio assembled the defense which led Ohio State to the national title in 2002. The Buckeyes were second nationally in scoring defense (13.1 points per game) and third in rushing defense (77.7 ypg.) during their title run. Six Buckeyes defenders were named first-team All-Big Ten during Dantonio's tenure and 13 were drafted by the pros, including a pair of first-round selections.
Dantonio spent six seasons (1995-2000) as secondary coach at Michigan State, five under Nick Saban and one under Bobby Williams. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2000. During MSU's 10-2 season in 1999, he tutored cornerback Amp Campbell, who earned third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press. Under his supervision, the Spartan secondary ranked among the NCAA leaders in pass defense three of his last four years, finishing No. 10 in 1998, No. 16 in 1997 and No. 22 in 2000. In his last season as secondary coach at MSU, the Spartans only allowed 164.1 yards a game through the air, ranking seventh in the country. During his six years in East Lansing, MSU compiled a 39-30-1 record.
Dantonio came to Michigan State following four seasons under Glen Mason at Kansas (1991-94) where he coached the defensive secondary. In 1992, the Jayhawks produced an 8-4 record and defeated BYU, 23-20, in the Aloha Bowl.
Dantonio previously spent five years at Youngstown State under Jim Tressel, helping the Penguins to three trips to the NCAA I-AA playoffs. While serving as defensive coordinator in 1990, Youngstown State posted a perfect 11-0 regular-season record and ranked second nationally.
His coaching credits also including stops at Akron (defensive secondary, 1985), Ohio State (graduate assistant, 1983-84), Butler (Kan.) Junior College (defensive coordinator, 1982), Purdue (graduate assistant, 1981) and Ohio University (graduate assistant, 1980). During his stint as a graduate assistant under Earle Bruce at Ohio State, the Buckeyes played in the 1983 Fiesta and 1984 Rose Bowls.
Dantonio began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Westside High School in Anderson, S.C.
Dantonio earned three letters as a defensive back for Coach Jim Carlen at South Carolina (1976-78). He earned a bachelor's degree in education from South Carolina in 1979. Dantonio later earned a master's degree in education from Ohio U. in 1980.
He picked up all-state and all-league honors as a prep football player at Zanesville (Ohio) High School. Dantonio also was selected to play in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game.
Born March 9, 1956, in El Paso, Texas, Mark and his wife Becky have two daughters, Kristen (13) and Lauren (11).
THE DANTONIO FILE
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College - Graduate assistant at Ohio U. (1980); graduate assistant at Purdue (1981); defensive coordinator at Butler (Kan.) Junior College (1982); graduate assistant at Ohio State (1983-84); defensive secondary coach at Akron (1985); defensive secondary coach and defensive coordinator at Youngstown State (1986-90); defensive secondary coach at Kansas (1991-94); defensive secondary coach (1995-2000) and associate head coach (2000) at Michigan State; defensive coordinator at Ohio State (2001-03); head coach at Cincinnati (2004-06).
Dantonio's Career Record - Head Coach
Overall Conference Year School W L Pct. W L Pct. Finish Bowl/Postseason 2004 Cincinnati 7 5 .583 5 3 .625 T-2nd Fort Worth Bowl 2005 Cincinnati 4 7 .364 2 5 .286 T-6th - 2006 Cincinnati 7 5 .583 4 3 .571 TBD Totals 18 17 .514 11 11 .500
Dantonio's Career Record - Assistant Coach
Year School (Record, Postseason/Bowl) 1985 Akron (8-4, I-AA Playoffs First Round) 1986 Youngstown State (2-9) 1987 Youngstown State (8-4, I-AA Playoffs First Round) 1988 Youngstown State (4-7) 1989 Youngstown State (9-4, I-AA Playoffs Second Round) 1990 Youngstown State (11-1, I-AA Playoffs First Round) 1991 Kansas (6-5) 1992 Kansas (8-4, Aloha Bowl) 1993 Kansas (5-7) 1994 Kansas (6-5) 1995 Michigan State (6-5-1, Independence Bowl) 1996 Michigan State (6-6, Sun Bowl) 1997 Michigan State (7-5, Aloha Bowl) 1998 Michigan State (6-6) 1999 Michigan State (10-2, Florida Citrus Bowl) 2000 Michigan State (5-6) 2001 Ohio State (7-5, Outback Bowl) 2002 Ohio State (14-0, Fiesta Bowl) 2003 Ohio State (11-2, Fiesta Bowl) Totals 139-87-1, 8 Bowl Games, 4 NCAA I-AA Playoff Appearances
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT Mark Dantonio
Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon:
Miami Dolphins Head Coach Nick Saban:
"He's familiar with Michigan State, having spent six years there as an assistant coach. He's familiar with the Big Ten, having coached at Michigan State and Ohio State. More importantly, Mark has been involved with winning football programs, including being a part of a National Championship at Ohio State. He's also had an opportunity to run his own program at Cincinnati and his teams had a reasonable amount of success.
"While serving as an assistant at Michigan State, Mark was one of the top recruiters on the coaching staff. He knows the MSU academic and campus community. He also has ties to Ohio and other parts of the Midwest, which is so important in recruiting.
"Mark really has the right blend for Michigan State. This is a great opportunity for Michigan State, and I hope everyone gets behind Mark and pulls together."
Michigan State Men's Basketball Coach Tom Izzo:
"Being a football coach is a multi-dimensional job. Like any major hire, you can't get the best in just one dimension. They've done a great job getting the best coach that can handle all the different aspects that you have to handle as football coach."
Ohio State Head Football Coach Jim Tressel:
Michigan State linebacker Kaleb Thornhill:
"I was thrilled to be consulted by the Athletics Department administration during the search process. It showed that the administration truly cares about the returning players, especially the seniors-to-be. It was great to have input in the search process because I know that rarely happens."
ESPN Color Analyst and Former Ohio State All-American Chris Spielman:
"Mark isn't the right guy if you're looking to hire a talk-show host, but he is the right guy if you're looking for a winning football coach."
Former Spartan All-American and 3M Human Resources Executive Gene Washington (member of external group involved in hiring process):
"I was spending a lot of time in conversation with Ron Mason and the team assessing all of the candidates and providing input in trying to identify the right coach. The group and I believe that Mark will really be a great fit for the position."
Alumnus and Southeast Michigan Businessman Bob Maibach (member of external group involved in hiring process):
Former MSU football player Bill Burke:
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