It’s been 20 years since Nick Saban worked as Michigan State’s head coach. But it appears he’s still very fond of the program, as well as his former assistant-turned-head coach Mark Dantonio.
Amidst a very underwhelming season from the Spartans with Dantonio at the helm, Saban was asked about the state of the program. He responded by immediately coming to the defense of his former protege.
In a recent teleconference, Saban complimented Dantonio on his performance in East Lansing. He called Dantonio “a great recruiter” and said he’s done “an outstanding job” with the Spartans.
But he did concede that it’s “unrealistic” to think that you can have a “great team year in and year out.”
Via Saturday Tradition:
First off, I think Mark has done an outstanding job at his time there. Had some very successful seasons, we played them in the Playoff. I think Mark is a great recruiter, MSU is a great place, beautiful campus… I’m sure the expectations are very high there and I think Mark has done a good job meeting those expectations. I think it’s unrealistic to think you are going to have a great team year in and year out… but I think he’s done an outstanding job.
Dantonio’s 13 years at the helm have seen Michigan State reach some of its greatest heights as a program. His three Big Ten titles are the most by any Spartans head coach.
While he has failed to secure their first national title since 1966, he did lead them to a No. 3 finish in 2013 and a trip to the College Football Playoff in 2015.
Unfortunately for Dantonio, the team’s 4-3 start doesn’t bode well for their chances at a decent bowl game. If they finish with another 7-5 regular season record, Dantonio could very well be a goner – regardless of how much praise Nick Saban pours onto him.