"We're very excited about Ron Burton joining our coaching staff at Michigan State," Dantonio said in a statement released by the university, "He brings a wealth of knowledge to the position. Ron coached at Air Force for the last 10 years, but he's also coached in Michigan as well as in the Big Ten before.
"Ron played four years in the NFL and has been around some of the game's top coaches at both the professional and collegiate levels. In the pros, he played for Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Gene Stallings, and he started his tenure at Air Force under Fisher DeBerry, one of college football's great coaches.
He was simply dynamic during the entire interview process. We had an opportunity to share some ideas last year in a professional development setting, and we believe Ron is a natural fit in terms of defensive terminology and concepts. He also brings great energy and management skills to the coaching staff. We look forward to seeing Ron interact with our players and watching our defensive linemen thrive under his teaching."
Burton was just as enthusiastic about his future at Michigan State as he was able to spend time with the Spartans last year.
"I had an opportunity to visit with Michigan State's entire defensive staff during a professional development setting last year, and I was most impressed with everyone's professionalism," Burton said. "We sat and talked football, and I was simply amazed at how the staff handled things. I also had heard so many positives about Coach Dantonio from my peers – they all talked about his leadership and how he promoted a family atmosphere. Well, I got a first-hand glimpse of how the defensive staff did interact as a family.
"I'm excited about working with a Spartan defensive unit that has really established itself as one of the nation's elite over the last three seasons. I'm looking forward to working for Coach Dantonio and alongside Pat Narduzzi, Mike Tressel and Harlon Barnett. Being presented with the opportunity to help grow and develop a great defensive front is really the icing on the cake for me.
Burton was an all-state selection as a linebacker at Highland Springs (Va.) High School before attending North Carolina (1982-86) where he earned four letters and helped the Tar Heels to three bowl appearances during his career before embarking on a four year NFL career as a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys (1987-89), Phoenix Cardinals (1989) and Los Angeles Raiders (1990).
Following his stay in the NFL, Burton returned to North Carolina where he spent two years as a graduate assistant (1992-93) for the Tar Heels.