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 Michigan State's New Head Coach (Plus Brian Kelly) 
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Stadium Announcer

Joined: March 14th, 2006, 3:15 am
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Location: The Yak
Post Michigan State's New Head Coach (Plus Brian Kelly)
As Chuck Amato of North Carolina State and Dirk Koetter of Arizona State were forced out on Sunday, Michigan State and Iowa State appear to have filled their jobs.

Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio moved to the top of the Spartans' list over the weekend, according to several sources, and may be named to the position as early as Monday. Iowa State is expected to name Central Michigan head coach Brian Kelly on Monday to replace fired coach Dan McCarney, according to two sources.

Michigan State has a scheduled a 1 p.m. ET news conference related to its football program, the university said in a statement late Sunday night.

Dantonio, a former defensive coordinator at Ohio State and at one time an assistant to Nick Saban in East Lansing, has shepherded the Bearcats into the Big East Conference with success. His three-year record at Cincinnati is 18-17, including a 7-5 record this season against a difficult schedule.

Four of the five Bearcats' losses have been to teams ranked in the current top 15, and they also knocked Rutgers from the unbeaten ranks on Nov. 18. Dantonio is known as a disciplinarian who teaches hard-nosed football, qualities that ranked high at Michigan State in its search to replace John L. Smith.

Kelly, like Dantonio, has revitalized a moribund program. The Chippewas won the MAC West and went 8-4 this season. In three years, Kelly has a record of 18-16, including the first back-to-back winning seasons at Central Michigan since 1990-91.

As for the two newest openings, a name that will be connected to both is Tennessee Titans' offensive coordinator Norm Chow. He was the offensive coordinator for Amato at North Carolina State in the 2000 season.

From there he went to work for four seasons for Pete Carroll at USC, where he worked with Lisa Love, now the Arizona State athletic director.

From ESPN:

Comments anyone? Is anybody familiar with this Dantonio?

How does everyone feel about Brian Kelly leaving CMU for Iowa State?

November 27th, 2006, 1:41 am
Stadium Announcer

Joined: March 14th, 2006, 3:15 am
Posts: 67
Location: The Yak
More news on the hire from the Free Press:

EAST LANSING -- Michigan State was preparing to introduce today University of Cincinnati turnaround maestro Mark Dantonio as its new head football coach.

Dantonio, 50, and a former Spartans assistant under Nick Saban, has overseen a powerful reversal at Cincinnati, where this season his Bearcats were 7-5 against one of the most punishing schedules in college football.

MSU had no official comment on the hiring late Sunday night, but sources confirmed a news conference would be held today in East Lansing and that Dantonio -- barring an 11th-hour breakdown in negotiations or a change of heart -- would be the Spartans' new coach. MSU players were expected to be informed of the decision at a meeting this morning.

He was selected over Miami Dolphins assistant head coach Charlie Baggett, who with Dantonio emerged as the two MSU finalists during long Sunday deliberations in East Lansing.

Brian Kelly, head coach at Central Michigan, also was one of MSU's final four. The fourth candidate was Louisiana State defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who in the end could not match the strengths MSU saw in Dantonio or Baggett.

Dantonio's stock shot skyward 11 days ago when Cincinnati upset undefeated and then-No. 7 Rutgers, 30-11. The Bearcats followed with Saturday's 26-23 victory over Connecticut.

Cincinnati is headed to a bowl game for the second time in three years under Dantonio. The Bearcats finished 7-5 in his first year, defeating Marshall in the Fort Worth Bowl.

They dropped to 4-7 last season while starting as many as five true freshmen on defense. The Bearcats bounced back to finish 7-5 this season with losses against Pittsburgh, top-ranked Ohio State, No. 14 Virginia Tech, No. 6 Louisville and No. 15 West Virginia.

Dantonio was the defensive backs coach at MSU from 1995-2000. The first five years were under Saban, the last one under Bobby Williams.

After leaving MSU, Dantonio became defensive coordinator at Ohio State, where he was reunited with Jim Tressel, under whom he had worked at I-AA Youngstown State. They also were on the same staff at OSU when Dantonio was a graduate assistant in 1983-84.

The Buckeyes went undefeated and won the national championship in 2002 while Dantonio's defense ranked No. 2 in the country in points allowed (13.1) and No. 3 in rushing defense (77.7 yards).

"I've known Mark since we were together at Ohio State in the '80s," Tressel said after Dantonio left OSU for Cincinnati. "We sort of grew together as coaches. I'll guarantee you that we wouldn't have won national titles at Youngstown State and Ohio State without Mark Dantonio."

Dantonio, a native of Zanesville, Ohio, played defensive back at South Carolina from 1976-78. Despite TV reports out of Cleveland, Browns defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was not among the four finalists who emerged from nearly four weeks of scrutiny and interviewing by MSU's search-and-selection committee.

No one from MSU would respond to Detroit News phone calls or questions Sunday night. The university has adopted an official "no comment" policy on the search for a successor to John L. Smith, who was fired Nov. 1, four years into a six-year contract.

MSU is known to have interviewed Baggett twice in recent days. MSU executives interviewed Dantonio on Sunday.

Mike Thomas, athletic director at Cincinnati, acknowledged Sunday that Dantonio "is a leading candidate" for the MSU job.

Michigan State is eager to name a new coach as soon as possible with the critical high-school recruiting period beginning this week.

November 27th, 2006, 1:51 am
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