Dantonio wants to be 'a part of the solution' of MSU's culture issues
The last time the public heard from head coach Mark Dantonio was Jan. 26, before men’s basketball’s eventual 76-61 win over Wisconsin.
"Every incident reported in that article was documented by either police or the Michigan State Title IX office," Dantonio said on Jan. 26. "I've always worked with the proper authorities with dealing with the cases of sexual assault. We've always had higher standards in this program and that will never change."
On the first day of spring practice on Feb. 27, Dantonio said he still stands by his statement made about a month ago and wants to “commit to be a part of the solution” of the sexual assault culture issues on MSU’s campus.
“Hopefully, we’re healing as a community and healing as a university. And it’s a step by step process,” Dantonio said. “A lot of times, spring is a time for new beginnings — so I’ll use that acronym in this case as well. It’s an opportunity to grow and to get better at everything that we’re doing and looking at.”
Dantonio said he told his team to respect the process, respect women, to be careful at all times and to make sure there are no incidents.
“They know the expectations here, they know the guidelines and the rules,” Dantonio said. “And we’re going to follow those and stay within the rules.”
Junior quarterback Brian Lewerke said Dantonio has addressed the team with the issues surrounding the university.
“(He’s) just trying to help us remain calm and help us remain focused,” Lewerke said.
Lewerke said it hasn’t been difficult to go through day-to-day football operations with everything surrounding the university. He said he feels like “some stuff has blown over” and the team has been able to keep the focus on itself.
Junior defensive tackle Raequan Williams said the team decided once spring football came around, they were going to try and focus on getting better every day.
Dantonio also said he thinks Interim President John Engler has done “a great job thus far,” specifically in confronting the issues MSU currently has.
Dantonio, however, didn’t answer questions about his reaction to the resignation of his former athletic director, Mark Hollis, who resigned on Jan. 26.
“You know, I’m going to stay the course here with spring ball right now,” Dantonio said. “It was an emotional day for all of us.”
Lewerke said the resignation of Hollis did surprise him and the former AD was stuck “in a bad place.”
“Personally, I liked him as an AD,” Lewerke said. “I would say it was kind of his decision — obviously we can’t make it. So it was unfortunate, but I wish him all the best.”
MSU will play in its annual spring game at 5 p.m. on April 7.