Snyder a “great fit” at Michigan State

Michigan State makes the hiring, which was reported Thursday, official Friday

With the need to fill a staff spot, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio again went back to familiar faces.

The university announced the hiring of Mark Snyder as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Friday.

”It’s very exciting to be at Michigan State,” Snyder said in a statement. “I’m here to serve and help wherever I can help. Hopefully some of my background and some of my experiences can add a little to this excellent staff.”

Snyder and Dantonio coached together at Ohio State as Snyder served as the linebackers coach under Dantonio from 2001-03. Dantonio said when he looked at the opening created by Pat Narduzzi accepting the head coaching job at Pitt, Snyder was on the short list of candidates.

”When we first had this opening, I made a short list of the coaches that I’ve worked with in the past that fit this position and there were very few,” Dantonio said in a statement. “He did a tremendous job at linebackers coach at Ohio State and also with special teams. …

“Working with our staff is another common denominator; Mark has relationships with five members of our staff. He has a great family and many of our coaches’ families know them as well. I just think it will be a great fit.”

With Narduzzi’s departure, Dantonio shuffled the present staff in East Lansing, promoting secondary coach Harlon Barnett and linebackers coach Mike Tressel to co-defensive coordinators. He also named Barnett assistant head coach.

Tressel will continue to work with the linebackers at Michigan State, which he has done since joining the staff in 2007 when Dantonio arrived.

Defensive line coach Ron Burton will continue his role for the third year at MSU.

With Snyder, Dantonio said he expected the system of checks and balances of the coaching staff to continue.

“Mark Snyder has done it all in his career: he’s been a linebackers coach, a front-seven coach, a defensive line coach in the Big Ten, a head coach, and a coordinator,” Dantonio said. “So he’s a big picture guy, and also understands the value of special teams. I expect him to be that checks and balances part of our front seven.”

Most recently, Snyder spent the past three years as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M. Previously, he filled the same role at South Florida and was the head coach at Marshall from 2005-09.

Snyder described himself as someone who brings passion and enthusiasm to coaching, which Dantonio echoed.

“Mark is extremely loyal and develops outstanding player relationships,” Dantonio said. “He also has a fiery personality, which we lost with Pat Narduzzi a little bit, but I think that his personality is a plus – he brings energy to the field every day, which is good.

”He’s a great recruiter and has recruited the areas that we lost with Narduzzi, in New Jersey and Florida, and he’s been strong in Ohio, Texas and Louisiana, so I think that benefits us as well.”

Snyder praised Dantonio for the amount of football he learned from him.

”As an outsider looking in, Michigan State is right there as a national brand, and I think a lot of that has to do with Coach Dantonio and how he’s handled everything,” Snyder said. “He’s done an absolutely tremendous job of branding Michigan State’s football program. For my family to get a chance to get back to the Midwest, and also be with him and his family, we thought it was a great opportunity for us.”


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