Friday, May 24, 2024

Sports | Football

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Cincinnati matched MSU's offer, but coach wanted more support

Mark Dantonio's salary just doubled, and then some. But if you think his decision to become MSU's third football coach in five seasons was solely about the money, think again. Several Ohio media reported Monday that Cincinnati had offered to match MSU's $1.1 million contract, but Dantonio went with the Spartans anyway. Why? One likely reason: Institutional support.

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Caulcrick, Thornhill had say in coaching search

Many MSU players were upset that the university didn't inform them of John L. Smith's firing last month until after an announcement had been made to the media. MSU officials didn't want that to happen again. So, the day before the Spartans played Penn State, Mark Hollis, senior associate athletics director and one of the lead directors of the coaching search, met with junior linebacker Kaleb Thornhill and junior running back Jehuu Caulcrick and asked them what the players were looking for in a new coach. While neither player would reveal what he told Hollis went wrong during Smith's tenure, both appreciated their input was sought. "I just want to thank (the administration) for involving us, letting us have a say in what we thought would be beneficial for this program," Thornhill said Monday. Caulcrick said Dantonio will be a players' coach like Smith — albeit a more hard-nosed one — but one who should help address the problems the players saw with the program. "Thinking about all the stuff that we mentioned to him that we needed," Caulcrick said, "Coach Dantonio is the guy that we were talking about."

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Front & Center with Becky Dantonio

Newly named head football coach Mark Dantonio and his family — wife Becky and daughters Kristen, 14, and Lauren, 12 — are returning to East Lansing after leaving in 2000 for Ohio State. During Monday's press conference, Becky wore a necklace from the Spartans' 2001 Citrus Bowl appearance, for which her husband was MSU's defensive secondary coach and associate head coach.

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High school football a reminder of so much

As I arrived at Ford Field on Saturday to watch my alma mater, Dakota High School, play in the Division 1 state football finals, my expectations were low. I didn't think Dakota would come out with a win, seeing as it was the school's first appearance in the finals and its opponent was Rockford, which had won the last two state titles and has a lot of kids with more facial hair than I have now. And I didn't think I'd be all that excited by the game, seeing as I don't recognize any of the names on the jerseys anymore and my expectations had been raised by rooting for a real football team (kind of) for the last four years.

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Board will meet today about hiring new coach

Top MSU officials said late Sunday night an 8 a.m. board meeting was planned for today with only one item on the agenda related to their search for a new football head coach. University spokesman Terry Denbow would not comment on who is likely to be named to the position late Sunday.

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Football recruits face off in state title game

Two MSU football commitments faced each other in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 state football finals on Saturday at Ford Field. Two-way lineman Darrell Davis-Budanauro and his East Grand Rapids team defeated wide receiver Mark Dell's Farmington Hills Harrison squad, 42-17. Davis-Budanauro (6-foot-4, 370 pounds) played both nose guard and offensive tackle, helping East Grand Rapids score five consecutive rushing touchdowns.

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Fields 1st-team All-Big Ten, Cook 2nd-team

Senior punter Brandon Fields was named first-team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media Tuesday, and senior offensive lineman Kyle Cook was named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches. Fields led the Big Ten in punting yardage average, with 43.3 yards per punt, and also had the longest punt, 73 yards, of All-Big Ten punters. Fields' selection was his third first-team All-Big Ten award.

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Disciplining of athletes not always balanced

Assaulting someone off the field hasn't always led to a suspension from the MSU football team. But this year was a whole new game. Six players were suspended indefinitely for their involvement in fights or violent incidents. In previous years, players, such as former senior running back Jason Teague and former starting bandit Cole Corey — both of whom were involved in criminal incidents, were allowed to play and practice with the team. MSU head football coach John L.

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Smith's Swan Song

State College, Pa. — Since his unceremonious firing Nov. 1, John L. Smith has been understandably guarded about his personal feelings.

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Season-ending loss

State College, Pa. — This one had all the makings of a blowout. Penn State was trying to play itself into the best bowl game possible, while MSU was limping to the end of its season without a chance at a bowl game and a coach on his way out. But the Spartans played with pride.

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Stanton questionable for Saturday's final game

In the last home game of his career, senior quarterback Drew Stanton was forced to watch most of the action from the sideline after a hit he took in the first quarter led to dizziness. Because of the injury, Stanton might be forced to the sideline again for his final game as a Spartan on Saturday at Penn State. "We'll prepare (sophomore Brian) Hoyer at this point as the starter and see what transpires as the week goes by," head coach John L.

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Reader mail Next MSU coach should only be paid for wins

Has anyone considered changing the football coaches' salaries paradigm? Instead of paying these coaches large guaranteed contracts and for a guaranteed number of years, why do we not offer them a set salary and then for each game they win, they get a guaranteed payment? This would force coaches to actually coach and tie their paycheck to their success, instead of the current system in which these coaches get paid if they win or lose and then the universities have to buy out the large contracts for coaches who failed to produce. For instance, a football coach could have a base salary of $500,000 and then get $100,000 for each game won.

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Izzo: I let Smith down

After MSU football head coach John L. Smith was fired Wednesday, his basketball counterpart, Tom Izzo, said he wanted to be involved in the hiring of Smith's replacement. On Monday, Izzo reiterated those statements and took some personal blame for the way Smith's tenure at MSU played out. "I think I let (Smith) down because I didn't know him as well, I didn't jump in there with the help I could give him," Izzo said.

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A step behind

Something unusual happened Saturday at Spartan Stadium. The MSU defense came to play. It forced a turnover and brought pressure on the quarterback.

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Wiley: Smith's ouster 'unprofessional'

The Spartans had enough trouble winning games without any extra distractions looming overhead. On Saturday, they played their first game after being hit with a midweek knockout punch — they learned they would finish the season under the direction of a coach whose days were numbered. Athletics Director Ron Mason announced the firing of John L.