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Return to sidelines is uniquely personal for Mark Dantonio

Dantonio will return to some familiar faces.



Mark Dantonio
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

While the Spartans adjust to life post-Mel Tucker, they’ll do so with a familiar face (Mark Dantonio) on the sideline.

Former head coach Mark Dantonio has become the associate head coach for Michigan State. After the suspension of Mel Tucker, Michigan State AD Alan Haller picked up the phone and called the former head coach.

Haller said, “I called Coach Dantonio this morning and his response was ‘Alan, whatever you need. I’m here to help.’ He is excited to be back.”

Dantonio will be working alongside and under secondary coach and current interim head coach, Harlon Barnett. While the details of Dantonio’s role are still being ironed out, having an experienced coach will certainly be a welcomed sight for Spartan players and fans.

This time is unique for Dantonio. While he’s been away from the program for years, he still has his fingerprints all over this roster. At least 15 current players on the team were recruited by Dantonio or his staff.

The list includes:

  • Nick Samac
  • Tre Mosley
  • JD Duplain
  • Maverick Hansen
  • Brandon Wright
  • Spencer Brown
  • Angelo Grose
  • Darius Snow
  • Dallas Fincher
  • Avery Dunn
  • Simeon Barrow
  • Jordan Simmons
  • Montorie Foster Jr.
  • Cal Haladay
  • Noah Kim

While Dantonio hasn’t had the opportunity to coach many of these guys, his relationships with them will help in his attempt to rally the troops moving forward. He’s looked these guys in the eyes and told them they have what it takes to be a Spartan. He now has the opportunity to walk alongside them and the rest of the roster as they head straight into a storm of uncertainty.

Dantonio has been a constant presence around the Michigan State campus and locker room so even the players he’s not as familiar with certainly know who he is and what he means to the university.