Brian Lewerke surprised Mark Dantonio stepped down before 2020 season
Former Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke assumed his former head coach Mark Dantonio would be stepping down sometime in the near future. After 13 successful years in East Lansing, Dantonio’s Hall of Fame career with the Spartans appeared to be winding down.
But Lewerke was a bit surprised that Dantonio opted to choose this offseason to call it a career.
“No, not this year,” Lewerke said at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine, saying he was surprised by the timing of everything. “It shocked me at first. It was sad to see him go. He’s been one of the best, if not the best, coaches in that program.”
Dantonio completed his 13th season with the program in 2019, becoming the all-time winningest coach in Michigan State history. He resigned with 114 victories, three B1G titles and a College Football Playoff berth to his name.
Still, Dantonio’s decision to step down just hours before the National Signing Day shocked the college football world.
“I was kind of expecting it in a couple of years or so,” Lewerke said, according to MLive.com. “But I wasn’t expecting it this soon. He’s a great guy and obviously he loves coaching, but like he said, he was just a little tired of it.”
Though the last four years weren’t the best Michigan State experienced under Dantonio — going 27-24 since that College Football Playoff berth in 2015 — the head coach had the Spartans dominating the B1G for most of the decade. In addition to three conference titles, Michigan State also posted an 8-5 record over in-state rival Michigan during those 13 seasons.
Lewerke’s surprise goes to show that nobody was expecting the 2019 season to be Dantonio’s last.