Mark Dantonio led one of the best eras of Michigan State football, but announced his retirement from coaching on Tuesday.
The 63-year-old had been at the school since 2007. He led the Spartans to the College Football Playoff in 2015 and two Big Ten titles. He tweeted out a message announcing his retirement.
To all Spartans: Thank you for everything. You have truly helped my dreams come true. pic.twitter.com/uKkubvp1cW— Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) February 4, 2020
“After much reflection and discussion with my family, I feel that it is now time for change as we enter into a new decade of Michigan State Football,” Dantonio wrote.
The timing is unusual considering firing and hiring season in college football has long since passed. On top of that, the early signing period for recruits has already gone by. Whoever ends up being Dantonio’s replacement won’t have much time to prepare for spring practices.
Replacing Dantonio’s accomplishments at MSU won’t be easy either. Dantonio took over a program that managed one top 25 finish in its previous 16 years (and that includes a five-year Nick Saban tenure). He left having produced seven top 25 finishes and 12 bowl appearances in 13 seasons.
The Spartans made three Big Ten Championship Game appearances under Dantonio and won two of them, one of which propelled them to a national semifinal. However, the Spartans had gone 27-24 since making the playoff.