Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio, who has compiled a 36-5 record (.878) over the last three seasons including two Big Ten Championships and three Top 10 finishes in the national polls, has been rewarded with a revised contract, according to a joint announcement made Friday, Feb. 19 by MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.
Michigan State’s 36 wins since 2013 are the fourth most in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.
Despite losing several key players to injuries throughout the 2015 season, Michigan State claimed its second Big Ten Championship in three years, won the second-most games in school history (12-2 record), earned a berth in the College Football Playoff, and finished in the Top 10 of the national polls for a third consecutive season at No. 6.
Dantonio led the Spartans to the 2015 Big Ten Championship with a 16-13 victory over previously undefeated and fourth-ranked Iowa. It marked Dantonio's third Big Ten Championship (2010, 2013, 2015), establishing a school record (previous: Duffy Daugherty and George Perles won two each).
The Spartans have consistently produced wins against highly ranked teams under Dantonio. MSU is 7-2 in its last nine games against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 10, including a 6-2 record since 2013 (beat No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Stanford in 2013; lost to No. 3 Oregon and beat No. 4 Baylor in 2014; beat No. 7 Oregon, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Iowa, and lost to No. 2 Alabama in 2015). The win over No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus on Nov. 21, 2015, snapped the defending National Champion Buckeyes' 23-game winning streak. In addition, the Spartans have produced seven wins in their last eight meetings against archrival Michigan.
Dantonio is the first coach in Big Ten history to record five 11-win seasons in a six-year span (11 in 2010; 11 in 2011; school-record 13 in 2013, 11 in 2014; 12 in 2015). His five 11-win seasons are tied with Joe Paterno of Penn State for the second most in Big Ten history (Jim Tressel with six, although the 2010 season was officially vacated; Paterno with five at PSU as Big Ten member). Prior to Dantonio's arrival, MSU had not recorded an 11-win season in its history, and had just two 10-win seasons (1965 and 1999).
During conference play, Michigan State has won 25 of its last 27 games against Big Ten opponents, dating back to the 2012 regular-season finale, including 18 wins by double-figures. In addition, Michigan State has recorded 49 Big Ten regular-season victories since 2008, the most of any team in the conference.
MSU's 65 wins since 2010 are tied for fifth most among NCAA FBS teams and most in the Big Ten during that same period. The Spartans have posted six consecutive winning seasons, a first for the program since 1985-90. MSU has won 65 of its last 81 games (65-16; .802), dating back to the beginning of the 2010 season. During that span, MSU has claimed three Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015) and three Big Ten Division titles (2011, 2013, 2015). In addition, the Spartans recorded a school-record four consecutive bowl victories (2012 Outback against No. 18 Georgia, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings against TCU, 2014 Rose Bowl Game against No. 5 Stanford, 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic against No. 4 Baylor), which also tied a Big Ten record.
Since 2013, Michigan State is one of only four schools in the nation to play in a Bowl Championship Series Game (2014 Rose Bowl), a New Year's Six game (2015 Cotton Bowl) and the College Football Playoff (2015 CFP Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl) in the last three seasons (Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State).
The 59-year-old Dantonio owns an 87-33 record (.725) at Michigan State since his arrival in 2007, and already ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in career wins (second) and winning percentage (third). Dantonio also ranks first in school history in bowl appearances (school-record nine in a row), bowl wins (four) and conference winning percentage (.722, 52-20 record, minimum 10 games). He won his 71st game at MSU on Oct. 25, 2014, against Michigan to become MSU's second all-time winningest coach (record: Daugherty, 109). He won his 100th career game as a head coach on Oct. 17, 2015, at Michigan Stadium as the Spartans rallied to defeat the Wolverines, 27-23, on a 38-yard fumble return as time expired. Dantonio owns a career record of 105-50 (.677) in 12 seasons as a head coach.
A two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2010, 2013), Dantonio has led Michigan State to Top 25 finishes in six of his nine seasons (2008: No. 24 in both polls; 2010: No. 14 in both polls; 2011: No. 10 USA TODAY/No. 11 AP; 2013: No. 3 in both polls; 2014: No. 5 in both polls; and 2015: No. 6 in both polls). His six AP Top-25 finishes are tied for second most in school history (“Biggie” Munn, who coached from 1947-53, had six consecutive from 1948-53). Daugherty's teams posted seven Top-25 finishes during his 19-year tenure from 1954-72. MSU and Alabama (No. 7 in 2013, No. 4 in 2014, No. 1 in 2015) are the only schools to finish in the Top 10 of the last three final AP Polls.
Michigan State extended its school record by playing in a bowl game for the ninth consecutive season in 2015 (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 2014 Rose Bowl, 2015 Cotton Bowl, 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at Cotton Bowl). The nine-year bowl streak is currently the second longest in the Big Ten and 12th longest in the NCAA FBS.
Dantonio has coached the third-most games of any Spartan head coach in school history (Daugherty: 183; Perles: 139; Dantonio: 120). In addition, he is one of just six active coaches in the NCAA FBS to own at least a .700 winning percentage in at least 100 games at the same school (LSU’s Les Miles; TCU’s Gary Patterson; Alabama’s Nick Saban; Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops; Clemson’s Dabo Swinney). Dantonio is the third-longest tenured coach in the Big Ten (Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz begins his 18th season in 2016; Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald enters his 11th season).
From his first day on the job, Dantonio has pledged to support student-athletes as they pursue excellence, both in the classroom and on the playing field. In his first nine seasons, a total of 158 players have earned their undergraduate degrees. In addition, 114 Spartans have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, including seven Academic All-America selections. Michigan State has placed three student-athletes in the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Class in the past five years.
Under the amended terms, increases have been made to Dantonio’s base salary (from $2 million to $2,264,480) and his contingent annual bonus (from $286,000 to $700,000). The revised contract includes a one-time $4.3 million contingent annual bonus if he remains the school’s head coach through Jan. 15, 2020. The contract remains a six-year roll over deal.
The amended contract also provides Dantonio with post-coaching employment for one year if he retires before Jan. 15, 2020, with a salary of $1 million. In addition, the buy-out provision of the contract has been eliminated if he leaves employment.
With the revisions, Dantonio’s annual compensation increases from $3.67 million to $4.3 million.
Here are the annual compensation components of the amended contract:
- $2,264,480 base compensation
- $1,000,000 supplemental compensation
- $700,000 contingent annual bonus
- $185,520 benefits
- $100,000 Nike shoe/apparel agreement
- $50,000 guaranteed performance incentives
Hollis also announced that nearly $250,000 has been allocated to enhance the salaries of the assistant coaches.
Here are the updated salary figures (includes contingent annual bonus) for the football coaching staff:
- co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Dave Warner – $447,184
- assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett – $437,434
- co-offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Jim Bollman – $437,434
- co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Mike Tressel – $437,434
- quarterbacks coach/recruiting coordinator Brad Salem – $337,686
- offensive line coach Mark Staten – $337,686
- defensive line coach Ron Burton – $327,687
- wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel – $327,687
- linebackers/special teams coach Mark Snyder – $327,687
“With a berth in the College Football Playoff this past season, Coach Dantonio has again shown his excellence in building a nationally prominent football program,” President Simon said. “He is an outstanding leader committed to MSU’s values who empowers his players to become the best Spartans they can be, whether on the field, in the classroom or as part of the MSU community.”
“With three-straight Top 10 finishes and two Big Ten Championships during that same period, Mark Dantonio and his coaching staff have built an elite football program,” Hollis said. “Michigan State’s football brand has never been stronger. We’re so excited about the future of our football program under Mark’s leadership and direction.
“The amended contract and enhanced compensation reflect his and his coaching staff’s value in the current marketplace. These updated figures ensure that Mark and his assistants remain in the upper tier of the Big Ten.
“Mark and his staff have created a winning culture as well as an environment that encourages current and future student-athletes to pursue excellence in the classroom, in the community and on the playing field. It’s obvious that Mark and his assistants are committed to building relationships that will last well beyond their four- or five-year college experience.”
“The University remains committed to providing all of the tools necessary to sustain a championship-caliber football program,” Dantonio said. “I wish to thank President Simon, Mark Hollis, the Board of Trustees and the entire administration for their trust, loyalty and support.
“Coaching staff continuity remains extremely important for the long-term success of our football program. We have had outstanding coaches and support personnel, who have been committed to having a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes. Coaching is teaching, and our coaches do it as well as anyone in the country. We’re excited about what our program has accomplished over the last nine years – the last three seasons in particular. We truly believe the best is yet to come. We will continue to strive for excellence in all aspects of our program.
“Our current and future student-athletes understand the expectations of our program. Our focus remains on winning championships, graduation and teaching social responsibility. Over the last three years, we have competed as one of the elite teams in the country. Our student-athletes have embraced this distinction as well as the expectations that accompany it. We will continue to dream big.”