Dan Roushar has accepted the job as running backs coach for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and will be leaving the program, according to a release by the MSU athletics department.
After nearly 30 years in the collegiate coaching business, the embattled offensive coordinator will take his first crack at professional football after spending much of the last decade as an assistant under MSU football head coach Mark Dantonio.
“The New Orleans Saints and Michigan State are built on similar models, with a focus on character and people. New Orleans has won a Super Bowl, and over the last five years, the Saints have been one of the winningest organizations in the NFL,” Roushar said in a statement. “I’ve had an opportunity to work for Mark Dantonio – in my opinion, the best college football coach in America – for the last eight years, including the last six seasons at Michigan State. Now, I have an opportunity to work for arguably the best coach in the NFL, in Sean Payton.
“Professionally, this is an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass up. Now as a running backs coach, I have the chance to learn the interworking of the NFL.”
Roushar becomes the second MSU assistant coach not to return for the 2013 season following defensive line coach Ted Gill, who’s contract was not renewed in January.
During the 2012 season, the Spartans finished 95th nationally in total offense despite the standout season by junior running back Le’Veon Bell, who finished as the nation’s third-leading rusher. However, the Spartans were ranked among the nation’s strongest offensive units in 2011, averaging 31 points per game and finishing with its second consecutive 11-win season.
The Spartans won both bowl games with Rousher as offensive coordinator, including the 2012 Outback Bowl against Georgia and this past season’s Buffalo Wild WIngs Bowl against TCU.
Roushar was elevated to the offensive coordinator role after Don Treadwell vacated the post to take the head coaching position at Miami (Ohio) after the 2010 season. Prior to coming to MSU, Roushar filled various assistant coaching roles at Cincinnati, Illinois, Northern Illinois and Butler, among others.
The Saints are coming off a third place finish in the NFC South with a 7-9 season but feature one of the league’s top players in quarterback Drew Brees.
Roushar will take over for former Saints running backs coach Bret Ingalls, who is expected to be elevated to the role of the team’s offensive line coach.
“Dan Roushar has been a loyal and dedicated assistant for the last eight years, including the past six seasons at Michigan State,” Dantonio said in a statement. “He’s a great teacher and a tireless recruiter. Dan certainly played a critical role in helping build a solid foundation here at Michigan State. We’re grateful for the effort and energy he’s invested in our program.
“He’s excited about being presented with the opportunity to coach the game at its highest level. We’re thrilled for Dan and his family, and we wish him nothing but the best in the NFL.”