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Getting To Know You: Michigan State's Mark Dantonio - A Less Than Critical Look at the Big Ten's Football Coaches

No sun means Mark Dantonio is safe out in the open.(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
No sun means Mark Dantonio is safe out in the open.(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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There've been a lot of changes in the B1G Ten over the last few months. New logos, new divisions, new conference members, and a boatload of new coaches. Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio State are all breaking in new headset wearers. I'm still shocked that Illinois isn't. Normally, you only see turnover like this at KPMG when the Feds start investigating their tax-shelter derivatives. So, as a public service, we thought it'd be a good idea to introduce, or re-introduce you to the conference's current head coaches. We've already covered Nebraksa's Bo Pelini and Indiana's Kevin Wilson.

Our thought? Give you a little background on them, their coaching past, and how they roll. As an aside, since all of our requests for interviews were turned down and the cops caught us rooting through Brady Hoke's recycling (again), we were forced to take some liberties with their bios. But fear not, dear reader, we kept it as close to how we perceive these coaches as possible, so we're pretty sure the coaches themselves would look at these pieces and say, "Yup. That's me." (No. No they wouldn't. They'd pick up the phone and call their lawyer). But, hey, what's the offseason without a little satire. Next up: Mark Dantonio, Michigan State.

Mark Dantonio
Michigan State Spartans
5th Year
MSU in 2010: 11-2

Nosferatu himself. I'm convinced that Dantonio sleeps underneath the Spartan Stadium bleachers hanging upside down in a cocoon of his own wings. He's evil, people, evil. That said, Dantonio is also a master of disguise. He's actually managed to convince people that he's a football coach, rather than the inspiration for Christian Slater's awkward portrayal of of the coked out reporter who was interviewing Dantonio's old friend back in the 80's. But right now, his official capacity is head football coach of Michigan State, so we might as well get to know him.

In terms of gameday demeanor, Dantonio is the exact opposite of Pelini on the sidelines.The exception being that neither is capable of smiling, and the only difference there is that Dantonio would turn into dust if that happened, whereas with Pelini it would cause the massive vein in his neck to hemorrhage like Mount St. Helens. Life is in the details people.

Getting back to the point, where Pelini wears his emotions on his sleeve, Dantonio has all the personality of a Toyota Carola. The base model. In beige. He could honestly be the boringest coach in all of college football. A nod here. A scowl there. Pointing at something to express a desired action. Even after he called "Little Giants" he looked like he was picking out wallpaper for his guest bathroom. Then, when he actually speaks, every word that leaves his lips is designed to lull you into a deep, full, REM sleep.

But that has a purpose. The man is pure evil. He'll lull you into a trusting mood, you invite him into your house for a recruiting visit, and he'll eat your family. Remember folks, if Corey Haim taught us anything it's that your powerless when you invite a Vampire into your home. And he's gone now, so you're on your own. Despite the stoic attitude and mid-loaf expression constantly plastered to his face, Dantonio is a disciplinarian on par with Barney the Dinosaur. No evil action shall go unrewarded. Start a brawl? Sit out a game. Get arrested for sucker punching someone and putting them in the hospital? Walk onto the field when you get out of jail. DUI? You get to decide whether you should play. Over the last few years I've done my best to bring people's attention to the green, scowling menace in East Lansing, but sadly my cries go unheard. And somewhere, "Sympathy for the Devil" plays on.

More after the jump.....

You'd think with all the children's hemoglobin Dantonio consumes to keep himself alive, he'd get a little melanin too. Nope. Bela Lugosi looks tan compared to Dantonio. Despite all of his, he's a good football coach. I'm still scratching my head as to how MSU so thoroughly man handled Wisconsin in week five, but Dantonio should get most of the credit. Roll out a freshman on BJ Cunningham? Dantonio goes right at him, as Michigan learned to its detriment. The result, last year, was 11 wins.

What's even more surprising is that Dantonio has the highest winning percentage at Michigan State (.635) since Clarence Munn last roamed the sidelines in 1953. Bet you didn't see that coming, no wait, you probably did. Dantonio calls a conservative, boring game that seems designed to minimize exposure to mistakes and keep the opposition sedated. I think it's all planned. He's just good enough to stay above reproach in East Lansing, but not good enough to garner any real buzz nationally.

That's how Dantonio works... he lulls you into thinking he doesn't exist. Then he gets you.

(Previously: Getting To Know You: Nebraska's Bo Pelini; Getting To Know You: Indiana's Kevin Wilson).