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Thursday, November 24, 2011

MSU is taking steps to support foundation Dantonio is building

Assistant Pay: Under-reported step forward.

Coaching staff continuity has been part of the success formula for Mark Dantonio and the Spartans. Through the first 3-years the staff did not experience a single defection. In fact, the entire staff was together at Cincinnati prior to moving to East Lansing with Dan Enos being a valuable transition figure. Enos was the lone staff John L. Smith member retained by Dantonio; he coached under Dantanio at Cincinnati prior to coming to MSU. That stability and the deep working relationships on the
staff has contributed greatly to building a solid foundation at MSU. In part, that consistency has developed players to excel beyond original projections.

Because of the Spartans success, and media misinformation, fans have been falsely led to believe that Dantonio has consistently recruited highly ranked classes - even to point that most people thought MSU had more "talent" on the field than chUMps and the last four years. This perception is not accurate when looking the "raw" talent in the recruiting classes. Coaching and player development have been at least as important as the talent level of high school seniors who chose MSU.

Before you rip the recruiting rankings concept - let me state an indisputable fact. The percentage 5-star recruits who achieve all-conference honors and are drafted to the NFL, is far higher than that of 4-star recruits. The gap between 4-star and 3-star is even larger. At the very least, recruiting higher rated players gives a program a greater margin of error to cover missed player evaluations, injuries and "bad apples". See Spartan Magazine for in-depth statistical analysis to support these claims.  What Dantonio and his staff has done is develop (and retain) players so well that many, including TV game commentators, assume they were blue-chip recruits to begin with.

Recruiting rankings by year ( for top Legends Division teams:

                             MSU       chUMps       Nebraska         Iowa
2012  (updated      39              2                    45      Not in top 50
      on 12/18/11)          
2011                      31             21                   15                 30
2010                      30             20                   22                 42
2009                      17             8                     28                 NR
2008                      47            10*                  30            NR (*chUMps transition class)
2007                      42*          12                    13            28 (*MSU transition class)
John L Smith...
2006                      33            13                   20                  39
2005                      35              6                    5                   11
2004                      16              5                    27                 38
2003                      NR            17                  42                 43

Spartan rankings are not any better now than under John L. Smith. In fact, JLS has the highest ranked class, and Dantonio has the two lowest ranked classes when comparing head-to-head. Although MSU is now recruiting smarter (for needs and evaluations) and getting players, who in the past may have selected direct rivals - particularly chUMps. That makes these higher value classes than the rankings might suggest. By the way, those of you who think chUMps are going away might want to note the huge edge in the quality of "raw material" they have to work with. Hopefully, their coaching is not up to par in the development department, and MSU's staff will remain the equalizer.

Unfortunately, MSU has had a history of paying assistants below conference norms. I have been concerned that MSU's success will lead to opportunities for assistant coaches, causing MSU to never get totally over the hump. The only changes in the coaching staff so far have been due to head coaching opportunities for former MSU assistants. Dan Enos was the first to leave for what some viewed as a less than attractive situation (due to the loss of so many key players via graduation) to lead CMU. It appears ours recruiting, especially in Detroit, took a big hit. Then, former OC, Don Treadwell for for an HC job at Miami (Ohio). It appears his play calling has been missed this year.

I felt that if MSU did not pay our assistants similar to what other elite programs pay, they would never have a chance to become elite. Now, that concern is being addressed.

Here is an excerpt from a Lansing State Journal report on Dantonio's most recent press conference:

"I'm not going to name the amount of money, but we have a substantial amount of money for our assistants that we will be able to give raises to our assistants beginning in February of next year," said Dantonio, whose Spartans will try to finish the regular season 10-2 with a win Saturday at Northwestern before playing in the Big Ten title game Dec. 3 in Indianapolis. "It should put us in the top three from what I understand in the (Big Ten), so that will be a great thing for our assistants."

Dantonio has been vocal about the need for MSU to increase the pay of its football assistants, after a university-wide pay freeze in 2011.

See the entire article by clicking here.

Also see the video below.


  1. Two very critical points are made in this article.

    First is that Dantonio has made a pretty big deal about getting more compensation for his Assistant Coaches. Yet some people are still predicting that he is about to jump ship and head to Ohio State. Why would someone who is about to leave for another job care what his assistants were getting paid? He would presumably be taking most (if not all) of them with him, just as he did the last time he switched jobs. Some people are even talking about Dantonio leaving MSU for Penn State. These are crazy ideas based on everything we know. There are always surprises in Life, but there is no evidence of any kind to suggest that Dantonio will be leaving MSU, and there is plenty of information indicating he will be staying for a long time.

    The second big point in this article is the comparison between football player recruiting rankings. As you can plainly see, Michigan has "outrecruited" MSU for as long as there have been rankings. In other words, UM always has "better players". This is significant when listening to chUMps bragging about their next great incoming class. While we would like our team to sign more 4-star and 5-star players, we've played UM nearly even over the last 11 years without ever having "better players". The mere fact that UM may once again sign "better players" than MSU does not necessarily serve as a basis for predicting future game outcomes.

  2. Thanks SM82. Hey - you have my permission to correct my typos!


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