On Tuesday, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio kept things light at a low-key press conference for the upcoming Rose Bowl between the Spartans and Stanford Cardinals.
When asked about the open head coaching position at Texas, and how some sources had rumored he could be a possible perfect fit, Dantonio couldn't help but shrug off the possible offer in favor of staying with the program that he helped build back from oblivion in MSU.
"I see Michigan State as a destination, not a stop," Dantonio said. "That's how I see it. Flattering, but that's how I see it."
It is flattering, after all. Even former Michigan State coach and top SEC leader in Alabama's head coach, Mark Saban, was touted for the Texas job before those rumors turned out to be false. The Texas position is likely the top open coaching position in the nation right now, and the fact that analysts see Dantonio as a contender for the Longhorns has to be just that: Flattering.
MSU athletic director Mark Hollis said earlier this week on "The Drive With Jack Ebling" on WVFN-AM (730) in Lansing that he isn't worried about Dantonio or his top defensive coach in the nation, Pat Narduzzi, who just won the Broyles Award for being the best assistant coach in the nation, to be leaving East Lansing anytime soon.
Narduzzi gave a lot of credit to his players for his success and keeping him grounded in Spartan Stadium.
“The fans and the staff that I have to work with every day here is the best in the country,” he said. “When you talk about something like that, it’s not about you because I’m nothing without Harlon Barnett, Mike Tressel and Ron Burton, period. I’m nothing without Denicos Allen and Darqueze (Dennard), and Kurtis (Drummond), and Isaiah (Lewis), and Shilique (Calhoun) and (Marcus) Rush and all those guys.
“If you’re grounded and smart, you know it wasn’t you. It was everybody else that you’re around. You hate to break up a great party that we have going on right now, and it better be a great opportunity. It felt like this is the place to stay.”
Dantonio also sees Narduzzi passing recently on a chance to head coach at Connecticut as a sign that his defensive coordinator will be a Spartan for the foreseeable future.
“I think him staying here sends a message that things are good here,” Dantonio said. “Things are very positive here and he’ll leave for the right position at the right time.”
Mark Dantonio, now 57, will likely be courting job offer rumors from not only the college-level, but also those from the NFL for some time if his Spartans can continue to win and become national contenders year in and year out. For now, it looks like he'll be focusing on the Green and White.
You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.