EAST LANSING, Mich. — Mark Dantonio doesn’t see Michigan State as a springboard for something else.
The Spartans’ coach brushed off the notion that he could leave for another job.
“I see Michigan State as the destination, not a stop,” he said Tuesday. “It’s flattering, but that’s the way I see it.”
The No. 4 Spartans (12-1 will face No. 5 Stanford (12-1) in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. It will be Michigan State’s first appearance in the game in 26 seasons.
Dantonio is 57, and he is 63-29 with Michigan State over seven seasons. Consistent with the stability he has built for the program, Dantonio wants to keep his entire coaching staff together.
That seems much more likely since defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, the 2013 Broyles Award winner as the nation’s top assistant coach, withdrew as a candidate to become the coach at Connecticut.
“It’s my hope to keep our entire staff together,” Dantonio said. “To have Coach Narduzzi remain here is a tremendous asset.”
Narduzzi is often credited with helping the Spartans rank among the nation’s top five defenses for three straight years. They are ranked No. 1 overall this season.
Though the coaching carousel keeps spinning, it seems more likely that Narduzzi will stay with the Spartans.
“Obviously, it was close,” Narduzzi said of a move to be closer to his roots. “I would’ve been an hour away from my mother-in-law. And I have a great coach’s wife. She could’ve said let’s go, instead of saying what’s the best move for you coaching-wise. The staff I have to work with here every day is the best in the country. I hate to break up the party we have going on right now.”
Offensive coordinator Dave Warner and quarterbacks coach Brad Salem also drew praise from Dantonio, as did a senior class that has won 41 games in the last four seasons.
Competing in its seventh straight bowl game, Michigan State will concentrate on the immediate challenge and worry about next season in 2014.
The Spartans will say goodbye to three All-Americans, cornerback Darqueze Dennard and linebackers Max Bullough and Denicos Allen, plus three starting offensive linemen. One star who said he will be back is sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun, a third-year player who was named the Big Ten’s top defensive lineman.
“I already know I’ll be back,” Calhoun said. “I’m not going anywhere. I want to be a first-team All-American. And I know I can get better here.”