BIG TEN COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio Retiring After 13 Seasons

February 4, 2020

Michigan State Spartans head football coach Mark Dantonio announced his retirement Tuesday, ending a 13-year run.

Dantonio went 114-57 as Michigan State’s coach and won Big Ten titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015. The last of those three seasons included a trip to the College Football Playoff, but the Spartans declined after that. They went 7-6 this past season.

“Mark Dantonio has provided outstanding leadership for the Spartan football program for the last 13 years,” athletic director Bill Beekman said. “As the all-time winningest coach in school history, he’s raised the bar for Michigan State football. He’s mentored young men and led them to success on the field, in the classroom and in life, while serving as a great ambassador for Michigan State.”

An ex-Michigan State University football staffer claims head coach Mark Dantonio potentially committed NCAA violations and lied about them under oath. Dantonio’s attorneys have called those claims false.

Among the claims made in new court documents filed Monday night, Dantonio took Curtis Blackwell II, former director of college advancement and performance/camp director for the football program, to a recruit’s home near Detroit although Blackwell wasn’t designated to make such visits. Dantonio also helped secure a job for a recruit’s parents, Blackwell’s attorney Andrew Paterson wrote in the court filings. Both those actions could have been major violations of NCAA rules.

Blackwell left MSU in May 2017 after Dantonio let his contract expire. He filed a federal lawsuit in November 2018 against Dantonio, former MSU President Lou Anna Simon, former Athletic Director Mark Hollis and two members of the MSU Police Department, detectives Chad Davis and Sam Miller. He argues he was wrongfully arrested and accused of covering up a sexual assault complaint made against three football players. Blackwell is seeking at least $75,000 in damages, lost wages and other costs.

Dantonio’s actions in addressing other sexual assault cases were also the subject of a January 2018 Outside the Lines report stating that since Dantonio’s tenure began in 2007, at least 16 Michigan State football players had been accused of sexual assault or violence against women, according to interviews and public records obtained by Outside the Lines.

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