Money for nothing
Finally had a few spare minutes to blog now that Michigan State's coaching search is done, and I must say I think Mark Dantonio was a safe, solid choice as MSU coach. I don't see him bringing national championships to East Lansing, but with his recruiting ties and pedigree I expect the Spartans to be bowl-eligible again in two years and regular contenders for the top of the conference. Anything less would be a disappointment. The first thing that struck me about the hire, however, was how devalued MSU's coaching position is. Dantonio will make $1.1 million a year with the Spartans and has a standard incentive package. Don't buy the company line that it's an incentive-laden contract and Dantonio will make a great deal of money if he's successful. Every coach has incentives that will reward him in a similar way for winning big. His contract is nothing special. Dantonio's total compensation package is the fourth lowest in the Big Ten, behind only Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, Indiana's Terry Hoeppner and Wisconsin's Bret Bielema, and Bielema is due for a big raise after taking the Badgers to an 11-1 record his first season. Unfortunately, that's the company MSU football is keeping these days. Two schools that struggle to draw 50,000 fans a game and (for the moment at least) one 36-year-old first-time coach. I can't rag on MSU too much for paying as little as it did. After eating two years on John L. Smith's enormous contract, the powerbrokers definitely learned their lesson. But I'm also left wondering if money cost the Spartans a shot at bigger-name coach like Butch Davis, Steve Mariucci, Todd Grantham or someone else totally off the radar.