East Lansing — Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio was released from the hospital Tuesday, two days after suffering a mild heart attack following a daring overtime win against Notre Dame.
Don Treadwell, the offensive coordinator for the 25th-ranked Spartans, is leading the team in the coach’s absence.
“I’m anxious and excited to be home with my family,” Dantonio said in a statement released Tuesday night. “I haven’t established a timeline for my return, but I have the utmost confidence in Coach Treadwell and the rest of the coaching staff to carry on with business as usual in my absence. I know that I must gradually work my way back onto the sidelines.”
Treadwell was upbeat during a news conference earlier in the day as he described meeting with Dantonio, who was hospitalized Sunday not long after Saturday night’s 34-31 victory.
“Coach was sitting up in bed in the time that I saw him, and again, just knowing him, having known him for 20 years, you usually can’t fool someone when you’ve been with them long enough to see him in good times and bad times,” Treadwell said. “I was very pleased in just looking at him and knowing who he is and seeing the strength in his eyes and just listening to him talk.”
And that was before the best news of the day — Dantonio’s release from the hospital in the afternoon.
With Dantonio out, Treadwell will try to keep his players focused for Saturday’s game against Northern Colorado coming off one of the program’s most exciting wins in recent memory. The Spartans beat the Irish on a fake field goal that worked for a touchdown — an audacious trick play that earned Dantonio all sorts of plaudits before his health became the primary concern.
Treadwell said although he’d seen Dantonio, there wasn’t much talk about Michigan State’s next game.
“Nothing like that has taken place,” Treadwell said. “I can assure you, with the boss he has in (wife) Becky Dantonio right now, there’s not much of anything going on outside of what she knows and what she allows, and that’s a hug and, ‘How ya doing?'”
Treadwell has been Michigan State’s offensive coordinator since 2007, when Dantonio took over the Spartans. Treadwell says he’ll coach from the field as opposed to a box upstairs.
“Typically what we’ll do is probably send one of the other offensive coaches up in the box,” he said. “I will still assume the duties of offensive play-caller. That’s the one part about the whole process that I’m still able to do is at times get away and close the door with the offensive staff and just look at some footage and film.”
Also Tuesday, Michigan State tight end Dion Sims was among 10 men charged in the theft of 104 Detroit Public Schools laptop computers. Sims has been suspended.
Despite a turbulent week, the Spartans have a great chance to improve to 4-0 before big games next month against Wisconsin and Michigan.
“I would like to think without question, without Coach D physically there right now, that they will certainly rally to make sure that Coach D understands what he’s put in place is a working situation,” Treadwell said.
Although the team is doing its best to focus on this weekend’s game, Dantonio’s heart attack was jarring.
“I lost a grandpa to a heart attack on the operating table and knew how serious that is,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “Coach Dantonio called me at about noon today. … It was the first time I’d spoken with him since right after the game. He said he’s doing well, don’t worry about him.”
Many coaches have spoken this week about the difficulty in trying to keep their work and personal lives balanced without jeopardizing their health. It came up again Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches’ call.
“You try to exercise a little bit and try not to overeat, which as the season goes on, I think I’ve mentioned this before in here, as the season goes on, that becomes harder,” Ohio State’s Jim Tressel said.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno told reporters he wasn’t sure the job was more stressful than before but there are “more demands.”
“Every game just about is televised,” he said. “I have to spend some time with people who do the television games on Friday. As soon I leave here I have to go home and get on the Big Ten (coaches) conference call … so there’s a lot of things that go on beyond that.”
AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Columbus, Ohio and AP Writer Genaro Armas in State College, Pa., contributed to this report.