Dantonio Introduced As New Cincinnati Coach

OSU defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio was just unveiled as the new head football coach at the University of Cincinnati. Dantonio told the media he would stay at OSU through the Fiesta Bowl. Click here for more details.

OSU defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio was just introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Cincinnati during a press conference at the Kingsgate Marriott in Cincinnati.

"We feel very blessed to be here," Dantonio said. "This has been a very exciting time and a hectic time for my family over the last four days."

Dantonio, who will stay on at OSU through the Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State Jan. 2, then took a page from his OSU boss, Jim Tressel.

"We will try and impact young peoples' lives as a football staff," Dantonio said. "That is why I started coaching in 1979. I go back to my high school days at Zanesville and my college career at South Carolina.

"People took time with me and not just as a player but also as a person.

"We want to impact the community and do some of the same things Jim Tressel has done at Ohio State and at Youngstown."

Dantonio continued with more of what he learned working for Tressel.

"One of the things Coach Tressel was able to do at Youngstown State was harness the human spirit," Dantonio said. "He has been able to build on that with an individual. The last two years we have found a way to handle adversity and win close games. He has been able to grab those people and make them believe in themselves. That gives you a chance to win."

While some may view the Cincinnati job as a stepping stone, Dantonio said he is considering it as his final stop, "I am getting to the age where I don't have many more moves left in me. This is it for me."

Dantonio was asked about coaching one last game with the Buckeyes.

"I was at a party and was asked if I was going to Arizona," he said. "I thought he meant the University of Arizona and I said no. Coach Tressel popped his head up and said, `You are going to Arizona.' I anticipate being the coordinator for that game, but the way we work, really, is everyone on our staff has a say."

Dantonio then thanked Tressel and his OSU players for helping to put him in this position.

"I want to thank publically all of the players and coaches at Ohio State," he said. "In particular, I want to thank Coach Tressel for the opportunity he gave me. I know that players make plays. Without the players we had at Ohio State, I would not be standing here."

Dantonio said he would take a slow approach to building the UC program.

"I'm going to go slow," he said. "I am going to try and find people who are good teachers and good role models. We will take our time with that. I don't believe in building fast because if you don't have a good foundation it will fall down."

Dantonio was asked why he took the UC job.

"I saw the challenge here," he said. "First of all, I saw an opportunity to lead a program that is going into the Big East. I think we can be very much like the University of Pittsburgh in everything it does.

"The challenge will be beating Ohio State on some players and the challenge will be next year in Columbus (the Sept. 4 season opener at OSU). I know you can recruit across the South at the University of Cincinnati."

UC President Nancy Zimpher welcomed Dantonio to the university saying the school's search for a successor to the fired Rick Minter gave UC "the opportunity to recruit the very best football coach ever. This is a terrific opportunity for us to welcome the Dantonio family."

Likewise, UC athletic director Bob Goin was thrilled the hunt was over.

"This university wanted a man who wants to stay and build a solid program," Goin said. "We will be in a new conference that will take us into new states. He is an Ohio boy with Ohio ties who loves the state. This is a good fit.

"He knows how to win. He has worked with winners. He is a man of great character as well as tremendous integrity. He is a great husband and father."

Dantonio replaces Minter, who was fired Dec. 1 after a decade on the job. He was dismissed three days after the Bearcats (5-7) ended their season with a 43-40 loss to Louisville. He finished with a 53-63-1 record over 10 seasons and had the most wins and losses in school history.

Tressel commented on losing one of his most trusted aides.

"We hate to lose him, but I'm extremely proud he has achieved this position and wish him the very best," Tressel said.

Dantonio, a native of Zanesville, won three letters as a defensive back at South Carolina (1976-78) and graduated in 1979 with a degree in education. He served as a graduate assistant at Ohio University, Purdue and Ohio State before working as an assistant at Akron, Youngstown State, Kansas and Michigan State.

During his two years at Ohio State in 1983 and 1984, he worked on the same staff with Tressel, then the quarterbacks coach under Earle Bruce. After Tressel became the head coach at Youngstown State, he brought in Dantonio.

Dantonio spent four years at Kansas and six at Michigan State, finishing as the Spartans' defensive backs coach and associate head coach. In his first year at Ohio State, the 2001 Buckeyes ranked first in the Big Ten in passing defense and second in scoring defense. In the national championship season of 2002, the defense finished second nationally in scoring defense (13.1 points per game) and third nationally in rushing defense (77.7 ypg).

In 2003, Ohio State is allowing an average of 16.8 points and 290.1 yards per game. The Buckeyes boast the nation's top defense against the run, yielding just 60.5 yards per game.

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