Dantonio shrugs off talk of job change

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.”