Dantonio Likely To Push MSU to Next Level

The long and winding road to the new head coach at Michigan State ended today when the MSU board of trustees unamiously approved the recommendation of Mark Dantonio as the next head coach.

EAST LANSING - The long and winding road to the new head coach at Michigan State ended today when the MSU board of trustees unamiously approved the recommendation of Mark Dantonio as the next head coach.

Dantonio, who compiled just a 18-17 record at Cincinnati in three seasons, had the football program on the upswing and ready for big things. An indication of that came when the Bearcats upset previously unbeaten #7 Rutgers who appeared on its way to upsetting the BCS's apple cart.

While he isn't the biggest name or even a wildly popular one among the fans, he is likely to push MSU quickly to the next level - making them a respectable bowl team.

The former MSU assistant under George Perles and Bobby Williams shouldn't be judged solely on what he did at Cincinnati. The Bearcats program has struggled to sustain any success. Former head coach Rick Minter was never able to do better than an 8-4 mark he posted in 1997 and you have to go back to 1976 to find a nine win season.

Dantonio made his mark as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State where in 2003 his defense ranked second in the nation. Look for Dantonio to come in and establish the team defensively and begin making inroads into the fertile recruiting hotbeds of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

"Mark Dantonio is an outstanding football coach," said Jim Tressel on Cincinnati's website. ``More importantly, he is an outstanding person and family man. He's the kind of coach and person who cares deeply about his players and the people around him."

One area of concern for Dantonio will be to clean up his special teams. Cincinnati ranked 93rd in punting, 91st in net punt returns, 82nd in punt return coverage and 55th in kickoff return coverage.


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