Well Spartans, here we go again. Last year we had to deal with the suspense of Tom Izzo possibly leaving for Cleveland. Now Michigan State is staring at nearly the same situation with Mark Dantonio with hypocrite Jim Tressel resigning from his duties in Columbus.
For those who don’t know why Dantonio may be a candidate to take the Ohio State coaching job, let's break it down. Dantonio has coached under Tressel for eight years prior to taking the head job at Michigan State, so he knows the way he coaches and operates a team.
Dantonio has also done five years of time with the Buckeyes, so he already has a standing relationship with the school and hasn’t burned any bridges as far as everyone’s concerned. Oh yeah, and he’s an exceptional coach, and that makes him a very hot commodity.
Now that last paragraph may be enough proof to have a search party sent out for the next Mr. Sparty, but that is certainly not going to be the case. There may be enough reasons to have him pack his bags and move back to the Buckeye state, but there are many more reasons that Dantonio will stay anchored right here in East Lansing.
Where to start? Well let’s kick it off with talking about Dantonio as a person.
Coach “D” is 55 years old, which is right on the median where coaches like to find their comfort level and stay put at a school, and some even may think of retiring in the near future (unless your name rhymes with Moe Faterno). If Dantonio hadn’t looked so comfortable at Michigan State, then the green and white should sound off the red sirens, but he’s said that he feels at home in East Lansing.
If he loves the community and the community returns the love, it can’t hurt. Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo have also said, and I’m paraphrasing, “We want to be the Florida of the north,” and by that they meant they want to be a football and basketball powerhouse, so commitment is definitely prevalent in him.
So coming out and saying you love where you coach isn’t anything groundbreaking, but again, it can’t hurt the odds. The community that surrounds Michigan State is wonderful, but let’s dive even further than just the fan base and dissect the actual team he coaches.
So far, Dantonio has landed the top recruit in the Mitten State every year he has been here, robbing the University of Michigan blind of 4- and 5-star recruits. Beating “Little Sister” for three straight years and having a big role in brooming Rich Rod out of Ann Arbor has to raise his confidence and comfort level with the team he has.
Having that confidence and comfort with recruiting and quality of team is something that OSU will certainly not have if sanctions are brought down upon them, which is due to happen. If the same discipline is brought to Ohio State that was brought to USC last year, expect a drought of recruits and talent level of teams temporarily, and Dantonio isn’t going to want that on his plate.
Dantonio has already overcome one giant challenge in restoring the pride that Spartan football once had, and why would he want to leave just as his project is hitting it’s prime? Another challenge that he hasn’t even been responsible for would be a big task, and that is arguably the biggest reason Dantonio is staying put at MSU.
Interim coach Luke Fickell has been around this program through the whole escapade, and with him being young, possessing coaching experience under “The Vest” and seeing what has happened to the program has Fickell as the favorite to take full-time duties once 2012 rolls by. If he bombs this year and OSU decides to part ways with Fickell, then “free agent” coach, if you will, Urban Meyer is likely to take the helm. Coming out and saying that he would love to coach Ohio State definitely leads to him being a likely successor, and besides, he’s a championship coach.
So with Dantonio’s comfort level at MSU, the bright future of his Spartan dynasty, and the other coaches who may take the job at the Ohio State should have fans taking a deep breath. Whatever you do, don’t expect another Izzo/Cleveland-like saga, and get ready for years of excellence from Coach “D.”