Thursday, October 22, 2020

Former MSU coach Mark Dantonio agrees to indefinite furlough

October 16, 2020
Dantonio listens to a question during a press conference at the Breslin Center on Feb. 4, 2020.
Dantonio listens to a question during a press conference at the Breslin Center on Feb. 4, 2020. —
Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

Former Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio has agreed to an indefinite furlough with the MSU Athletic Department, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Dantonio, the winningest coach in Spartan football history, announced his retirement as head coach on Feb. 4 after two consecutive 7-6 seasons. Former Colorado head coach Mel Tucker was hired as head coach eight days later. 

As part of his resignation, Dantonio agreed to stick around with the MSU Athletic Department to help out with donor relations, among other things. Dantonio was set to make $100,000 annually through February 2022. 

However, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll financially on different athletic departments across the country, Dantonio is now a victim of an agreed upon furlough. 

“As the global pandemic has drastically reduced those opportunities, Dantonio graciously and willingly volunteered for an indefinite furlough,” MSU Associate Athletic Director for Communications Matt Larson told the Detroit Free Press.

Over the summer, the university said they were estimating $300 million in lost revenue for the 2021 fiscal year, according to the financial impact on their website. 

But with Big Ten football kicking off next weekend and other revenue sports starting soon, there was hope some of these financial losses could be avoided. With COVID-19 regulations around football this fall, such as no fans allowed in attendance, drastic measures such as Dantonio’s furlough may have been inevitable. 

Less than a month before Dantonio’s retirement, he was awarded a $4.3 million bonus as part of a clause in his contract. 

MSU agreed to a six-year deal worth around $5.5 million annually with Tucker, making him the 14th highest paid head coach in the country. According to USA Today, he too along with other members of the MSU Athletic Department have taken pay cuts because of the pandemic. 

Tucker will make his Spartans head coaching debut Saturday Oct. 24 versus Rutgers.



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