Dantonio Sweeps Big Ten Coach of the Year Honors
Dec. 3, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State seventh-year head coach Mark Dantonio, who has led the Spartans to a school-record tying 11 wins and their second Big Ten Legends Division title in three years, has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year by both the league's head coaches and media, as announced on BTN Tuesday evening.
This marks the second time Dantonio has been named the Dave McClain Coach of the Year, as voted on by the media, and the first time he has been tabbed the Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year.
Since the award's inception in 1972, Dantonio is the first Spartan coach to earn Dave McClain Coach of the Year honors twice. He also won the award in 2010 after leading MSU to an 11-1 regular-season record and a share of the Big Ten Championship.
"This is really a program award," Dantonio said. "We've had a remarkable season because of the outstanding job that our coaching staff and players have done. There is great chemistry on this football team, led by a special senior class that has provided solid leadership throughout the season. This team is fun to be around.
"There were a lot of question marks and unknowns heading into this season. We showed great resilience during some early season growing pains and played at a consistently high level during our Big Ten schedule. We were able to manage that success and played our best football down the stretch as the stakes got higher.
"We've accomplished our first goal by winning the Legends Division title. We look forward to the challenge of playing an undefeated Ohio State team for the Big Ten Championship. We're in the process of making lifetime memories, and we're looking forward to the weekend."
Michigan State finished its Big Ten schedule with a perfect 8-0 record for the first time in school history. MSU became the 14th Big Ten team to post an 8-0 mark in league play and the first conference team to win all eight of its conference games by double-digit points since the league went to an eight-game schedule in 1971. In addition, MSU is the first undefeated Big Ten team to win all of its league games by double-figure points since Michigan in 1943 (6-0 record).
The Spartans, who are bowl eligible for a school-record seventh consecutive year, are ranked 10th in the Bowl Championship Series standings and also sit at No. 9 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll and No. 10 in The Associated Press Poll. Winners of eight straight, MSU (11-1) will play in the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 7 against No. 2 Ohio State (12-0).
Michigan State features the top-ranked defense in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, ranking No. 1 in the FBS in total defense (237.7 yards per game), rushing defense (64.8 ypg.) and pass efficiency defense (91.8 rating). The Spartans have been ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense for 12 consecutive weeks.
MSU also ranks among the national leaders in opponent third-down conversions (second at .287; 52-for-181), first downs defense (second at 14.1 pg.), scoring defense (fourth at 11.8 ppg.) and passing defense (ninth at 172.9 ypg.). The Spartans lead the Big Ten in seven defensive categories (total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass defense, pass efficiency defense, opponent third-down conversions, first downs defense).
Offensively, the Spartans ranked among the Big Ten leaders in conference games in passing efficiency (third with 139.5 rating), scoring offense (fifth with 29.8 ppg.) and rushing offense (fifth with 185.8 ypg.). The offensive line has allowed just 12 sacks, which ties for fewest in the Big Ten and 12th fewest in the FBS. In addition, Michigan State ranks sixth in the FBS in time of possession (33:32 per game).
Another key reason for MSU's success this season has been creating turnovers on defense and limiting mistakes on offense, as Michigan State ranks first in the Big Ten and tied for fifth in the FBS in turnover margin (+15, 1.3 per game). The Spartans have forced a total of 27 turnovers (11 fumbles, 16 interceptions), including five for touchdowns (three fumble recoveries, two interception returns). MSU has forced the most turnovers in the Big Ten (27) and has also turned the ball over the least amount of times (12) in the conference. MSU's five interceptions are also a conference low and are tied for sixth fewest in the FBS.
Dantonio owns a 62-29 (.681) record at Michigan State, which already ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in career wins (fourth) and winning percentage (fifth). He is the only coach in MSU history to lead multiple teams to double-digit win seasons (11 in 2010, 2011 and 2013). Among Spartan coaches who have coached at least 10 Big Ten games, Dantonio owns the best winning percentage (.679, 38-18 record).
Michigan State was rewarded for winning the Legends Division by three games, as six Spartans were named to the All-Big Ten First Team and a total of 16 players received all-conference recognition. The six first-team selections were the most for Michigan State since 1990, and the 16 honorees overall equal the second most under Dantonio (19 in 2011, 16 in 2010). Two Spartans took home individual awards, as senior Darqueze Dennard was named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year, while sophomore Shilique Calhoun was named the Smith-Brown Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. Dennard, Calhoun and senior linebacker Max Bullough were first-team selections by both the coaches and media. Junior safety Kurtis Drummond, senior safety Isaiah Lewis and junior punter Mike Sadler were named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches. The five first-team selections on defense are tied for the most in school history (1966). Since 2007, Dantonio has helped produce 26 first-team All-Big Ten selections.
The Spartans have won 40 of their last 52 games (.769), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. The 40 wins are most in the Big Ten and 11th most in the FBS during that same time period. In addition, MSU has recorded 35 Big Ten victories since 2008, the most of any team in the conference (Note: Ohio State has won 40 games, but had to vacate seven victories following the 2010 season.).The Spartans produced back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2010-11 for the first time in program history, claimed a share of the Big Ten Championship in 2010, and have won two Big Ten Legends Division titles (2011, 2013). Dantonio has led Michigan State to Top 25 finishes in three of the last five seasons (2008: No. 24 both polls; 2010: No. 14 both polls; and 2011: No. 10 USA TODAY/No. 11 AP).
Dantonio was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2010 after leading the Spartans to a share of the Big Ten Championship and a school-record 11 wins. He was also selected the National Coach of the Year by Rivals.com, Scout.com and CBSSports.com, and was named a finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant, Eddie Robinson and Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year Awards. In 2008, Dantonio was named one of 15 finalists for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award after leading MSU to a 9-3 regular-season mark.
MICHIGAN STATE BIG TEN COACHES OF THE YEAR
Coaches' Vote (award from 1982-1991; 2011-present)
Media Vote (chosen by league's media beginning in 1972 and named after Wisconsin's Dave McClain)
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