Saturday, September 26, 2020

Mark Dantonio announces his retirement as Michigan State's football coach

February 4, 2020
<p>Coach Mark Dantonio runs out with his team to start the game off against Arizona State. The Spartans fell to the Sun Devils, 10-7, on Sept. 14, 2019 at Spartan Stadium.</p>

Coach Mark Dantonio runs out with his team to start the game off against Arizona State. The Spartans fell to the Sun Devils, 10-7, on Sept. 14, 2019 at Spartan Stadium.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio has resigned from his position after 13 years at the helm.

Dantonio led the Spartans to a 114-57 record during his tenure with three Big Ten titles, one College Football Playoff appearance and a Rose Bowl win over Stanford in 2013.

A two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, Dantonio became the winningest coach in MSU football history with his 110th win on Sept. 21, 2019.

In a tweet posted Tuesday, Dantonio thanked the Spartans and noted stepping down marked one of the "most difficult decisions that I have ever made here at Michigan State."

"I have told our players on many occasions that 'Michigan State is bigger than any one person,'" he wrote in a tweeted letter. "'Someday there will be someone else here talking to you from this podium.' That day has come."

Dantonio will continue working with the university and athletic department on special projects and helping current and incoming football players transition.

“It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve as the head football coach at Michigan State University," he wrote. "I will forever be a Spartan.”

The resignation follows months of Dantonio's involvement in a lawsuit from former MSU football staffer Curtis Blackwell. Dantonio is accused of pushing for the admission of recruit Auston Robertson despite his history of sexual misconduct and of ignoring warning signs from other staffers.

Robertson was kicked off the team in April 2017 after an incident which ended in him being convicted of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration and sentenced to 43-120 months in prison. Dantonio was deposed in early January.

On Tuesday, the Detroit News published a report detailing allegations from Blackwell that Dantonio committed multiple NCAA violations, including arranging employment for the parents of two MSU football players and conducting unauthorized recruiting visits.

In a press release from Associate Athletic Director and Director of Communications Matthew Larson, Larson announced that Mike Tressel will serve as acting head coach of the football team before a permanent coach can be hired.

Athletic Director Bill Beekman said in the release that Dantonio was an excellent leader and that the department intends to continue his success with their next hire.

“Mark Dantonio has provided outstanding leadership for the Spartan football program for the last 13 years,” Beekman said. “As the all-time winningest coach in school history, he’s raised the bar for Michigan State football. As we begin the search for Mark’s successor, we will look for the right fit who will continue the success at both the conference and national level.”

MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in the release that Dantonio left a lasting effect on MSU not just limited to the football field.

“We are all very grateful for Mark’s contributions to MSU, and not just on the football field,” Stanley said. “I’ve continued to be impressed by Mark’s leadership and dedication to his players. ... I know the entire Spartan nation joins me in wishing Mark the best in retirement, and I look forward to having him still engaged with the university moving forward.”

Since 2010, the Spartans have posted a 92-40 record, the greatest 10-year run in program history.

Dantonio leaves as one of the most successful coaches in the Big Ten history, ranked No. 11 in total wins and No. 4 in bowl wins.

This is a developing story. For more news on Dantonio and his retirement, stay with The State News online and in print. For more updates, follow The State News on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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