EAST LANSING, Mich. – Mark Dantonio announced Tuesday that he would be stepping down as the head coach of Michigan State football.
Dantonio has coached at MSU since the 2007 season. He is the winningest coach in program history. While at MSU, he went 115-57, including six seasons with at least 10 wins.
Some reports have said Luke Fickell, the former Ohio State head coach, may replace him.
The announcement that Dantonio is stepping down comes several weeks after he collected a $4.5 million bonus and less than 24 hours before signing day.
“I talked to every one of our incoming rookies and recruits today and it’s tough. I think they all understand,” Dantonio said.
He said he will stay with the university and athletic department in a role involving special projects.
Here is the full statement from Dantonio:
"Today marks one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made here at Michigan State.
“I would first like to thank our fans, alumni, and our administration; both past and present staff and especially our current and past players and coaches for all their support, hard work and dedication over these past 13 years. You have truly helped make my dreams come true.
"Every February since 2007, I have reset this program in preparation for the next year’s challenges. After much reflection and discussion with my family, I feel that it is now time for change as we enter into a new decade of Michigan State football.
"I have told our players on many occasions that ‘Michigan State is bigger than any one person. Someday there will be someone else here talking to you from this podium.’ That day has come.
"There have been so many amazing life moments in the last 13 years. When I reflect, I think of our Big Ten championship games, our Big Ten championships, the big games, the playoffs, the bowl wins, the moments, the milestones, the graduates, the NFL opportunities and finally, and perhaps most importantly, the relationships made.
"This job has always been a 24/7, 365-day-a-year position. There is no down time and it is filled with the demands and challenges of managing games, players, coaches, recruits, donors, staff, media, an enthusiastic fan base and competition at the very highest level. I will miss it all, but feel the sacrifices that I have made away from my family must now become my priority at this time in my life.
"My plan is to stay on within the university and athletic department in a role involving special projects, especially transitioning our players, both current and incoming, to their next challenges.
"It has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve as the head football coach at Michigan State University. I will forever be a Spartan.