Dantonio dodges South Carolina question, but is it worth asking?
In case you didn’t know, Mark Dantonio is a South Carolina alumnus.
In case you didn’t know, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier announced his resignation on Tuesday.
In case you didn’t know, Dantonio is coaching one of the nation’s top programs.
Naturally, the rumor mill is spinning. Will South Carolina make a run at the Michigan State coach? On Tuesday, Dantonio was asked about the Gamecock job.
Mark Dantonio asked about South Carolina job. Says Steve Spurrier great career, "it's my alma mater and we're here to talk about Michigan."
— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) October 13, 2015
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dantonio, a no non-sense guy, didn’t want to talk about South Carolina. It’s Michigan week. There’s no time for that. There might ever be a time he wants to talk about that.
Dantonio would obviously be a home-run hire for South Carolina, but there are a few factors working against that. The 57-year-old coach would be responsible for rebuilding an SEC team in an area in which he doesn’t have recruiting ties. Dantonio — an Ohio kid — has been a midwest guy since he left South Carolina in 1979.
Sure, he played for South Carolina. It’s an SEC job. Bret Bielema — at age 42 — ditched his midwest roots and his solid B1G job to take a mid-level SEC job. Couldn’t Dantonio follow suit?
Well, let’s look at the facts.
He was given a massive raise and extension after leading the Spartans to the Rose Bowl in 2014. He’s set to lead the Spartans through 2019-20 as one of the top 20 highest paid coaches in college football.
When Michigan State gave Dantonio his first extension back in 2011, it was designed to make him a “Spartan for life.” That contract even had incentives for him to work for the athletic department after he retired. Retirement plans aren’t normally put in place for coaches that plan on bolting to chase down some new opportunity in uncharted territory.
If there’s any chance of Michigan State senses South Carolina is making a serious move at Dantonio, you can bet that it will write a blank check for him to stay. After all, not even Nick Saban could turn Michigan State until a national power. You could argue Dantonio is the most valuable coach in the country over the last five years.
The Spartans know they have something special, and they know that is largely dependent on Dantonio’s presence in East Lansing. As he goes, so goes this powerhouse program.
Dantonio is going to be getting questioned about this until South Carolina makes a hire, though don’t expect him to reveal his hand. All signs point to him staying in East Lansing to indeed be a Spartan for life.
Still, the speculation is officially underway. We’ll see how long it lasts.