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Dantonio Steps Down As Football Coach At MSU, Facing Allegations Of NCAA Violations

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Al Martin / WKAR-MSU
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Dantonio talks with the media about his retirement.

Michigan State University football coach Mark Dantonio has announced that he is stepping down after 13 seasons.

This post was last updated Wednesday February 5, 2020 at 1:20 a.m.

Michigan State University football coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement that “now is the time for change.” He said he plans to stay in the MSU athletics department in a role involving special projects, especially transitioning players to what he calls “their next challenges.”

Dantonio leaves Michigan State as the football coach with the most wins in school history: he coached the Spartans to 114 wins, including three Big Ten Championships, a Rose Bowl win, and led the team to the 2015 College Football Playoff appearance.

The news comes a day after a motion was filed accusing Dantonio of possibly committing NCAA violations. The motion, brought by former football program staffer Curtis Blackwell, alleges Dantonio had Blackwell accompany him on an in-home recruiting visit, which is a violation of NCAA rules. The motion also states that Dantonio’s deposition may have revealed NCAA violations related to “providing the parent of star recruits jobs/employment upon signing to play for MSU.”

Mike Tressel will serve as acting head coach while a search is conducted to find Dantonio’s replacement.

At a press conference later in the evening, Dantonio addressed the media explaining what led to his decision to retire. Dantonio said the day-to-day responsibility wore on him.

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Listen to the entire Mark Dantonio retirement press conference.

“The things that come across your desk and the overwhelming responsibility for people day-in and day-out just feels sometimes like an avalanche.”

When asked about the motion filed Monday night, which is part of ongoing legislation involving former football program staffer Curtis Blackwell, he sharply denied the notion the two were related snapping at the reporter. 

“Zero. No relevance whatsoever," said Dantonio. 

When pressed about the matter further Dantonio said, "I try very hard not to say anything negative about anybody. So, I'll keep that right where it's at. That's one question. We are not talking about this here. This is a celebration." 

Dantonio received a 4.3 million-dollar bonus in late January, announcing his retirement the day before national signing day.

Dantonio received a 4.3 million-dollar bonus in late January, announcing his retirement the day before national signing day.

MSU Athletic Director Bill Beekman, said the university will fight the NCAA-violation allegations in court.

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Michigan State University athletic director Bill Beekman talks about the next steps for the football program in light of the retirement of Mark Dantonio.

 

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