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Mark Dantonio steps down as Michigan State football coach

Dantonio to stay with athletic department in special projects role

Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans takes the field with his team prior to a game against the Wisconsin Badgers. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans takes the field with his team prior to a game against the Wisconsin Badgers. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Mark Dantonio announced Tuesday he is stepping down as head coach of the Michigan State University head football team.

Dantonio said he will stay with the university and athletic department in a role involving special projects.

In 13 seasons at Michigan State from 2007 to 2019, Dantonio went 115-57, including six seasons with at least 10 wins. He led the Spartans through one of their best stretches in program history -- five of six seasons with at least 11 wins from 2010 to 2015.

Dantonio’s Spartans won the Rose Bowl in 2013, going 13-1, and then played in the College Football Playoff two years later, losing to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.

He won conference titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015 -- giving him the most of any coach in MSU football history.

Since that College Football Playoff appearance, Dantonio’s teams have gone a combined 27-24, with just one season of more than seven wins. those struggles coincide with controversies in the program, including the Auston Robertson dismissal and the charges against Donnie Corley, Josh King and Demetric Vance. Most recently, Dantonio has been involved in the lawsuit filed by former assistant Curtis Blackwell.

Dantonio steps down as the winningest coach in program history.

Dantonio is scheduled to hold a news conference at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Breslin Center. Michigan State basketball hosts Penn State there at 8 p.m.

Here is the full statement from Dantonio:

"Dear Spartans:

"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.

"Go Green!

Mark Dantonio"


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