Former Spartans WR defends Mark Dantonio: 'He's a great person, he's a hell of a football coach'
Appearing on “The Jamie and Stoney Show” with Jamie Samuelsen and Mike Stone on 97.1 The Ticket, former Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Plaxico Burress defended the program’s head coach, Mark Dantonio.
“I don’t think Coach D (Dantonio) should step down at all,” Burress said.
“The way he has the program running, he’s put them back on the national stage year in and year out, 13 years in now. A lot of things that go on are out of his control, you can’t monitor everybody. It’s a shame that we have to talk about it and say, ‘He should step down, he should resign.’
“Anybody that knows Coach D, he was the defensive backs coach when I was there back in 1998-99, he’s a hell of a man. He’s a great person, he’s a hell of a football coach, man, and I hope he sticks around for a long time because he’s just a great person and a great coach. I just hope everything works out for him.”
Spartan Tailgate, part of the 247Sports network, also covered Burress’ comments:
— 247Sports (@247Sports) October 24, 2019
The most decorated coach in school history with 111 wins, Dantonio has guided Michigan State to three B1G championships (2010, ’13, ’15).
Since that last conference title however, the Spartan program has fallen on difficult times. Dating back to the start of the 2016 season, Dantonio’s teams are just 24-21.
Trotting one of the nation’s worst offenses onto the field throughout the 2018 season, the beloved head coach made the questionable decision to retain all his assistants and simply reassign their responsibilities.
The results, unsurprisingly, have been shaky at best. Receiving a promotion from his role as quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator/running backs coach Brad Salem’s unit is averaging just 23.9 points per game, 97th in America.
Seeking to snap a two-game losing streak, the Spartans will need to pull off an impressive upset. Hosting the No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions, Michigan State is hoping for a repeat of the 2018 edition when Dantonio’s team topped James Franklin’s, 21-17.
A product of Norfolk, Virginia, Burress spent a year at Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia before starring for Michigan State from 1998-99. Catching 131 passes for 2,155 yards and 20 scores, he was an All-B1G selection in each of his two years on-campus. He ranks eighth in school history in receiving yards and is tied for fifth in touchdown receptions.
Selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the eighth overall pick in the 2000 National Football League Draft, Burress played in the league for 12 seasons with the Steelers (2000-04, 12-13), New York Giants (2005-08) and New York Jets (2011).
A member of the team that knocked off the 18-0 New England Patriots, Burress won Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona as a member of the Giants, catching two passes for 27 yards and the game-deciding touchdown.