EXCLUSIVE: Dantonio Enters 2018 With His Best Staff Yet.

Photo courtesy of the MSU SID and MSU Football Equipment Staff
Photo courtesy of the MSU SID and MSU Football Equipment Staff

As is the case in most years for any college team, #5 Michigan State saw its coaching staff change since the end of the 2017-18 season as the Spartans saw both additions and subtractions to the staffafter last year’s 10-3 finish.

While there were losses, most notably, co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett, who departed to become the defensive coordinator at Florida State, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is confident in his staff as the Spartans are set to embark on the 2018 season.

In an effort to help make up for the loss of Barnett, Dantonio and Michigan State brought back a trio of former Spartan assistants, Chuck Bullough (Defensive Ends), Don Treadwell (Assistant Defensive Backs, Special Teams) and Paul Haynes (Secondary). The NCAA added an additional coach to each program that is why the Spartans added three when only losing two.

In an exclusive sit down interview with Spartan Nation, Dantonio touched on his coaching staff and said that when changes take place to his staff, he looks to bring in new coaches who can bring something different to the table.

“I’m not going to ever say anything negative, I thought we had a great staff all along,” he said. “I do think that when somebody leaves, you’re always trying to add something different or you’re always trying to bring something else along and usually, someone’s going to bring something in that’s a little bit newer. Or there’s a little fresher perspective, you look at things a different way, you look at things, ‘Okay, how can we improve this situation or that situation’. I know it was tough to be co-defensive coordinators - I know that’s tough - but I think the situations warranted that and two out of the three years, we were double-digit winners, so it worked and we had good defenses.”

Dantonio went on to add that Mike Tressel will have more control over the defense after being promoted to sole defensive coordinator and the additions of Bullough, Haynes , nd Treadwell will also help the defense through the loss of Barnett.

“But having Mike Tressel be the sole defensive coordinator, it gives him a little bit more autonomy, we brought coach Treadwell back, brought Paul Haynes back and we brought Chuck Bullough back, so they’ve all been Spartans and all three of those guys have been in positions of leadership, whether they’ve been head coaches or coordinators, so that’s a positive because you have people that have led people, whether it was successful or not at times, they had people skills to lead a lot of people. There’s such a big progression in that and then you have other coaches that have been here and they’ve opened up their horizons and we’re always trying to do something new or change something for the better and look at things from a different perspective and I think that’s been part of our strengths here.”

With any good college football program, losing assistants and coordinators is extremely common and something that has happened to Michigan State during Dantonio’s tenure in East Lansing, so the Spartans were prepared to deal with the loss of Barnett.

Even with losing coaches for a variety of reasons, Dantonio told Spartan Nation that a key to his program’s success during his time on the sidelines has been the continuity with the coaching staff, along with the fact that he builds his staff with not only good coaches, but perhaps, more importantly, good people, which carries over to their players each year.

“We’ve had great continuity here,” he said. “Our staff, it’s a ripple effect, our staff ripples into the players, one person can’t control 120 players. Essentially, a head basketball coach has 14 players, Mike Tressel has 16 players as a linebacker coach and Staten has 20-something players, so they have a direct impact on those guys. They see them as fathers, as husbands, as teachers, as coaches, as guys who’ve played the game or been involved in the game for a long time, so they have a huge effect on our players in so many different ways. So really, when you talk about the success that we’ve had which, I think I saw a stat the other day that since maybe 2010 we’re the ninth winningest program in the nation or something like that - that comes from our staff, both the coaches that are still here and the coaches that have left. That’s all related to staff development and I’m talking graduate assistants, I’m talking coordinators, coaches, and operations people. This is such a big organization, there are so many different facets that go on that people have a responsibility and without them doing their job, it doesn’t get done. We’re very fortunate, we’re blessed to have everybody here and there’s a great feeling among our staff that we can have great success here once again.”

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