Dantonio beat out a solid field of candidates including Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, New York Jets running backs coach Jimmy Raye, Miami Dolphins assistant head coach Charlie Baggett, Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur and Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong.
Dantonio has the unique perspective of being an assistant coach under Nick Saban and Jim Tressel and served as the Buckeyes defensive coordinator until 2003, coaching his last game for Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl against Miami.
Dantonio has done a solid job turning around the Bearcats, going 7-5 his first year and taking them to a bowl game. They fell to 4-7 last season but rebounded with another 7-5 finish this year which included a surprising 30-11 upset over then undefeated and #7 ranked Rutgers.
MSU agreed to the deal with Dantonio late Sunday night, just in time to deal with the pivotal recruiting contact period which started on Sunday.